"There's something about him that feels like family": (Re)interpretations of Family in Tommy Orange's There There

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The thesis explores the concepts of “family” in Tommy Orange’s There There, and how their (re)interpretations affect the character’s attitude to / view of their Native roots. The mostly Cheyenne narrators are looking for ways (re)connect their Indigenous cultural heritage in an urban area, in Oakland, California. Some characters struggle with their Native American identity, as they are all dissociated from their Indigenous culture. The introduction of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act also impacts Indigenous families as described by Orange. The climax of the novel, the powwow, functions as an alternative to family environment, where characters can embrace their Native American cultural roots.

Native American literature, Native American culture, cultural identity, family concepts