Thomas King is a half white, half Native Canadian who grew up in Northern California. His novel, Medicine River, relates a lot to his own personal life. King writes about a half white, half Native main character named Will, whose mother was Native. Government legislation states that a native woman and her children will loose their Native status if the woman marries a white man. By this rule, Will, his brother, and his mother were kicked of the reserve and moved to Calgary. Growing up outside a Native community can get lonely in comparison to a tight knit native community who work together as one. Some Natives (Will) who live in Canada feel alienated due to the fact they do not live in a tight community filled with unity and togetherness. When one tries to re-enter into the community, he/she might feel left out. Adjusting and accepting change can be difficult for the community as well as the Native who is trying to enter back to the community. Will is a photographer and he is used to observing the events that are being taken instead of being involved.
You guys have to live in town because your not Indians anymore. Being half white, half Native is tough when you are living in a community of authentic Natives. Will believes he is full native, but his relatives tell him otherwise. It does not only happen in an Indian town, but pretty much everywhere else in the world. It is because the native people are too afraid to accept the foreigners. Once the foreigner spends some time there, people will start to accept and understand the foreigner.
Part of what holds Medicine River together is the Friendship center, and the basketball team called the Warriors. The team gives you something to belong to, something they can be proud of. You give the boys confidence, Will. They got respect for you, and we got a good team. This is an example of togetherness in the community that brings everyone together, something to be apart of and to be proud of. Harlen is trying to help Will get accepted back into the community. He is trying to get the men on the team to like him so that Will can hang out with them. УI was thinking these thoughts when Harlen and Floyd and Elwood and Jack Powless came in. What are you guys doing here?-Will. Just checking up on Louise. How is she doing? Harlen. Not even getting a phone call, the guys on the basketball team suspected Louise and Will are at the hospital and they hurried over. It is a small community and they were worried about her and cared for her. You wouldn`t find that in a big city, for one thing the hospital would be too full to find Will or Louise. Also, in a big city, there are many things the couple could be doing, they could be anywhere, and it would almost be pointless to look for them. Therefore, in a small Native community, everyone is constantly thought about and cared for. They act as a whole, and whenever an event happens, big or small, everyone knows about it.
At the beginning of the story, Harlen phones Will at two in the morning, wakes him up just to tell him that the lady that used to do their taxes wasn`t getting married! Harlen is one who brings people together and tries making everyone happy, he is the glue that holds the community together. Now he is going to try to set up Will and Louise. Right at the beginning of the story, you can tell that the novel is going to be about a really close group of people who look out for each other. Harlen always knows what is happening around town, he always knows what is going on and always tries bring people together. In one part of the story two friends, Eddie and Big John, are fighting so he tries to solve the problem by have a social evening inviting both of them, forcing them to be by each other. The two of them ended up being the last two left in a game for money. In the end, Big John lost, but he was ok with it. Eddie ended up giving him his favorite bone choker necklace, and they seemed to be getting together. Big John had lost his favorite silk duck tie in the game to Eddie. Well, Harlen thought that he had made peace between the two, but he actually made things worse. The next day at work, Big John put Eddie`s chocker around his poodle, which is very disrespectful. Eddie seen that he did this so he cut up the silk duck tie and attached them to a shirt and wore it. But Harlen just said things turned out the way they should, Big John and Eddie are back together by good friends and blood kin.
And the one thing he enjoyed more than helping someone out with their burden was sharing it with others. Harlen is someone who likes to know everything and be apart of it too. He likes to gossip to others about situations that happened, and he loved to solve problems and to set people up as boyfriends and girlfriend. The little Native community reminds me of Junior High, when everyone talked about everyone else, and everyone knew what happened to someone and when it happened. And the whole school knew if you had a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Evelyn`s sister, Doreen, had married Fred Yellow Rabbit just long enough to produce Big John before Fred went off to a rodeo in Saskatoon and disappeared. Doreen married Moses Hardy from Hobbema, who wasn`t related to anyone at Standoff, but that doesn`t have anything to do with the trouble.. In Medicine River, the town was so small that everyone knew the family trees of their friends and neighbors. Everyone felt a sense of belonging in the community, and was well known.
You can see by the way the author writes the book that this story is about coming together and being close. When King writes, he includes the significance of the person, if they were a classmate, friend, and best friend or even if they were related. Will looks back at his memories and remembers his mother`s best friend Erleen Gulley. Her and Wills Mother would get together every Thursday to go shopping together. It was a really nice how the two got to be together, have fun and never loose touch with each other. It gave me a warm feeling inside on how the two interacted. They had a great time together, laughing and always smiling. Will and his younger brother James would come along shopping and they would sit in the magazine aisle and read. The two brothers also had a very good relationship. James is a very good artist and the way King wrote, it sounded that Will was amazed at how talented his brother was. He said that it looked like the drawings actually popped out of the paper.
It is important in life to grow up in a neighborhood where neighbors, friends and family are close, caring and always they are for you. It builds character and personality in a person. It also gives one strength and potential to have a bright future ahead. In Medicine River, everyone experiences a great childhood and is taken care of by the community. Will returns to Medicine River after living in Toronto for 20 years and was reintegrated into the community with the help of Harlen Bigbear. Due to the fact that Will had lived away in isolation from the community, he may still face the feeling of alienation that the community tries to eliminate. It is a difficult process to adjust and fit in to the community when one has been away for such a long time. But Will joins a basketball team provided by the Friendship Center that helps him fit in with the Community and achieve a sense of belonging.