One of our recommended books for 2019 is Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis

INDIAN NO MORE


Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

Now that they’ve been forced from their homeland, Regina’s father signs the family up for the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place.

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Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

Now that they’ve been forced from their homeland, Regina’s father signs the family up for the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights era, and the family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay?

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  • Tu Books
  • Hardcover
  • September 2019
  • 220 Pages
  • 9781620148396

Buy the Book

$18.95

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About Charlene Willing McManis & Traci Sorell

The late Charlene Willing McManis (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.

Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books as well as poems for children. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, her Sibert Honor and Orbis Pictus Honor–award-winning nonfiction picture book, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness. A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located. For more about Traci and her other works, visit tracisorell.com.

Praise

“I love Indian No More. It is a beautiful and important book, honest and moving. Regina’s story faces a shocking injustice directly, creating a powerful historical novel that should be included in every school’s curriculum.” —Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree and We Need Diverse Books Mentor of Charlene Willing McManis

Discussion Questions

1. What does Regina learn from her grandmother Chich over the course of the story? Why is Chich important to Regina and her family?

2. Why do Regina and her family have to move to Los Angeles? What is the Indian Relocation Program, and how does it affect Regina and the Petits?

3. How did Chich’s stories help Regina understand herself and her identity?

4. How does Regina experience racism when she first gets to Los Angeles?

5. How do the young people in Regina’s neighborhood treat and view her? How do their relationships evolve?

6. Why do you think the author Charlene Willing McManis wrote this story?

7. What did Charlene Willing McManis want to tell her readers? What is her message and why do you think that?

8. What does the title, Indian No More, mean to you after reading? How is the title important to understanding the entire story?

9. How does Regina grapple with her identity over the course of the book? What does she learn about herself and her family?

10. How does Indian No More relate to the ongoing and systematic oppression and racism that Native people experience today?