American woman’s upbringing

The author examines the upbringing of the Native American lady in this essay. Throughout the story, Hale and her mother exhibit a particularly tumultuous and complicated connection with one another. Although they struggled with their ethnic identities and lived in an abusive relationship, the two did not get along. The mother projected Hale and their home, as well as the environment's crippling sadness, onto Hale. Multiple family moves made it more challenging for Hale to develop her identity as both a white person and a Native American. The Hale tale focuses on the negative effects Hale's and her mother's intersectional identities had on their relationship.

Native Identity

Odyssey of a Native Daughter by Janet Campbell Hale employs the captivity motif to portray the experience of a contemporary Native American in the American West. Hale’s text challenges the narratives of American Captivity that depict the capture of whites by Indians as a mindless, brutal, as well as an act of savage. The book in its place represents the cruel colonial Native people domination as well as indicates the captivity multiple forms that deceive American-Indians both physically as well as culturally after the Second World War. The process is explored by the memoir through which the Native inhabitants internalize assumptions of a dominance of disappearance as well as defeat. Through communal storytelling, Hale can realize a deeper dysfunction legacy understanding that shapes the relationship that connects to her bloodline.

The narrative examines the personal as well as the cultural struggles plaguing Native Americans that are of mixed blood, and because of the urban west post-war are cut off from their motherland as well as traditions. Hale is an estranged Coeur d’Alene tribe member, and she traces the history of her family since she wanted to recover ties to her people. The story depicts Hale’s hard upbringing with a mother who is abusive as well as her welfare struggles as a single mother. All members of the family of Hale endured cultural prejudice including the ones who intentionally rejected the heritage of Indians (Vance 6).

Throughout the narrative, the author blends her experiences as a woman of the American-Indian heritage with the paternal as well as maternal ancestor’s histories. The connection of her family, as well as tribe, is seen as an empowerment source. This is depicted when Hale speaks to the Idaho Coeur d’Alene tribal School children reminding them that it is unique to be a tribal person, something that the non-Indians in the United States lack, as well as can be a reliable source. It was apparent that her white relatives disdained Margaret as well as her Indian husband, but were fascinated by the exotic Indian other parts. Hale eavesdrop the bragging of her blond cousins concerning their native ancestry. Moreover, they boasted of their great-great-grandmother being Indian (Hale 115).

Female Identity

The white society, which is dominant, has denied Native groups agency. The white culture has always formed an Indian impression without drawing reference to the Native inhabitants. Moreover, the white community did not make efforts to listen to what the Native individuals would say about their culture. This deliberate ignorance has hurt the Native women who have been represented mainly rendering to the firm binary of righteous as well as the Indian Princess who are beautiful or else the immoral woman. As a woman, Hale was torn down by her family, rejected, and told that she is defective because she did not withhold culture. Moreover, Hale’s mum was mocked by her own family in the way she walked, also the way she talked. She was physically abused since she cut her hair.

These thoughts demonstrate Hale’s darker upbringing reality in a family composed of mixed blood afflicted by racial uncertainty, as well as ingrained patterns of deeply internalized prejudice. As the story advances, Hale elaborates her family’s dysfunction nature. Hale explains her relationship with her mother who is embittered as well as volatile. Her mother, Margaret, is a domestic abuse victim. Margaret advised Hale, over and over, that ought to be an excellent Indian, clean, well-ordered, industrious, as well as sober. Besides, Margaret puts across the message that Hale has to be the kind of a woman respected by men, as she gets older (Hale 113).

Hale suggests an Indian woman side that is deeply ingrained and that has infused the mindset of a European, including the noble, innocent, and selfless Indian Princess. Such Indian woman’s image has dominated the cultural landscape of Americans for several decades. Her Princess’s nobility, as well as her Squaw savagery, are well-defined regarding her male relationships. She must save also help white men if she wishes to be referred to as a Princess. According to the American fixation, a good Indian is the one who rescues as well as aids the white individuals. This narrow definition burdens the Indian woman since the white men sexually desire them (Hale 703).

According to the western culture, a good woman must defy her community, and adopt the white culture. Therefore, people expect Hale agree with the idealized as well as the romanticized image of an Indian Princess that is upright, compliant, as well as self-deprecating. Some Hale’s part identifies the unfairness as well as her situations outright absurdity, even though she fails to understand why the comments of her mother concerning proper behavior are so granting.

Poverty Identity

Regularly, Margaret whiskers Hale away from the home of the family on the reserve so that the childhood of Hale is marked by dislocation series, new beginning running patterns, a fresh start that does not pan out. She is trapped with her mother who is known to her as an absolute master of emotional as well as verbal abuse. Hale remembers how poverty contributed to the mental illness of her mother as well as her arthritis that keeps on worsening. Hale also her mother were so poor, and Hale almost fainted at school because of hunger (Hale 30). Other members of the family reinforce the imbalance of power messages between the white society as well as the Indians, even though the sisters of her mother are poor, also less educated openly disguise them since they are Indians (Hale 115).


In the end, Hale is put in a position that is intolerable. She is limited by both her family’s abuse as well as the white society’s domineering forces. She finds herself in a situation drifting away from home. Hale admits that it is difficult for her to be one of the family’s permanent members and she feels broken, although her daughter, as well as the niece, reconnect to the family. Hale regains courage and struggles to find her position in the world. Hale wants to fight for her identity that is free from the Eurocentric fiction as well as the myth boundaries.

Works Cited

Hale, Janet Campbell. Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native daughter. University of Arizona Press, 1998.

Vance, Nicole. "“The Problem of Pocahontas”: Colonialism, Stereotypes, and Personal Identity in Janet Campbell Hale’s Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter." Proceedings of the Annual Thompson Rivers University Undergraduate Research and Innovation Conference. Vol. 10. No. 1. 2016.

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