Indian No More

By: Charlene Willing McManis

Traci Sorell

Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight—even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina's father signs the family up for the 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.

Map. Note on Chinuk Wawa language. Glossary. Author’s note with photographs. Co-author’s note. Editor’s note. “The Beaver and the Coyote.”

ISBN: 9781620148396

JLG Release: Feb 2020


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
Topics: Family life , Racism , Moving households , Los Angeles, California , Indian Relocation Act (1956) , Umpqua tribe , Grand Ronde reservation , Friendship , Neighborhoods and community , Native Americans , Twentieth-century US history , Grandmothers and granddaughters

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Awards & Honors

CPL Best Books - 2019
American Indians in Children's Literature Best Books of 2019
Booklist Editors' Choice for Books for Youth
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner - 2020

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine, Booklist*

School Library Journal

Regina Petit and her family are Umpqua, living on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s reservation in Oregon, until the U.S. government enacts a law saying that her tribe no longer exists. Ten-year-old Regina can’t comprehend what is happening to her family and how they can have their Indian heritage taken away from them. Forced to move with her parents, gr Regina Petit and her family are Umpqua, living on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s reservation in Oregon, until the U.S. government enacts a law saying that her tribe no longer exists. Ten-year-old Regina can’t comprehend what is happening to her family and how they can have their Indian heritage taken away from them. Forced to move with her parents, grandmother, and younger sister, PeeWee, to Los Angeles, Regina finds her world turned upside down. Daddy believes that the 1957 Indian Relocation Program will provide their family with a home, schooling, a good job, and opportunities, while Chich (Grandma) is more doubtful, calling their relocation an eviction. Mama tries to keep her chin up for her family, but she just wants to go back home. Regina and PeeWee try to acclimate to their new neighborhood and school but find ignorance and racism toward Indians prevalent. New friends Keith and Addie are a bright spot for the Petit children, but as black children, Keith and Addie also face racism. Daddy tries to put on a brave face for his family, working hard to get ahead, only to discover that education and hard work aren’t necessarily enough. The family’s struggles are not sugarcoated; readers see the reality of Daddy’s despair and anger as Mama tries to hold the family together. In the midst of it all, Chich carries forward their tribal stories. In this book based on McManis’s own childhood experiences, the family is fictionalized to show how older children might react to being uprooted and plopped down in a foreign world—McManis was one year old when the government declassified her family’s tribe. McManis died before finishing the novel, entrusting Sorell to finish her story. A lengthy author’s note from McManis offers relevant history with which readers may be unfamiliar, along with family photos from this time. Also discussed in the note is the relevance of President Ronald Reagan changing the laws in 1983, enabling the restoration of tribes that had been terminated. Readers will be moved as they become invested in Regina’s predicament. Is she still Indian, American, or both—and what does that mean for her and her family?

Horn Book

This novel (based on McManis’s childhood) is set against the background of U.S. government actions beginning in the 1940s that terminated the status of many Native Nations and forced relocation of families living on reservations. With a stroke of the pen, in 1954, eight-year-old Regina Petit and her family lose both their identities and their hom This novel (based on McManis’s childhood) is set against the background of U.S. government actions beginning in the 1940s that terminated the status of many Native Nations and forced relocation of families living on reservations. With a stroke of the pen, in 1954, eight-year-old Regina Petit and her family lose both their identities and their home. Members of the Umpqua tribe in northern Oregon, the Petits relocate to Los Angeles. There, Regina tries to adapt to life in the city, making friends outside her culture and figuring out what it means to be (in the terminology of the times) Indian. The straightforward, easygoing flavor of this narrative is shot through with deadpan, subversive humor. Its many ironies lie not in authorial commentary but in the events themselves. A neighbor kid kindly explains to Regina that “real” Indians live in tipis and hunt with bows and arrows. Regina, seeing TV for the first time, gets a crush on Tonto. The family is refused service in an upscale restaurant because the waitress won’t serve “Mexicans.” Most poignant of all is Regina’s father, who tries to embrace the “opportunities” that their forced relocation offers. Beloved grandmother Chich, the family’s repository of cultural knowledge, is less sanguine. This is a book we need—distinctive in voice, accessible in style, and told with an insider’s particular power. Back matter includes authors’ notes that tell more about the federal termination laws and detail Sorell’s role in completing the manuscript after McManis’s death.

Book Details

ISBN

9781620148396

First Release

February 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

9 x 9

Page Count

211

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 720L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Tu Books

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Topics

Family life, Racism, Moving households, Los Angeles, California, Indian Relocation Act (1956), Umpqua tribe, Grand Ronde reservation, Friendship, Neighborhoods and community, Native Americans, Twentieth-century US history, Grandmothers and granddaughters,

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Historical Fiction

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