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Abstract

This essay focuses on issues of assimilation, identity, and hybridity as they apply to the Native American characters in Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag. It interprets the stages of colonization, as proposed by Frantz Fanon, within the novel's storyline by focusing on the specific characterization of its three major characters: Irene, Gil, and Riel. These three characters metaphorically represent the players in a colonial system—the colonized subject, the colonizing force, and the generations of hybrids who result from colonization—in order to depict a truth about Native American identity in contemporary America. According to Fanon, the three phases of colonization are assimilation, rejection, and revolution, with the end result being a hybridized people. Gil colonizes Irene, Irene assimilates to Gil's image of her, Irene rejects Gil's influence, and Riel lives on as a hybrid of both of her parents' influences.

KEYWORDS: Louise Erdrich, Shadow Tag, Native Americans, hybridization, colonization

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