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Coming Home In many Native American cultures ceremonies of sacrifice and renewal are an annual activity used to promote community and individual well being In the novel Green Grass Running Water Thomas King suggests that when one is able to fully accept ones own self andor cultural traditions a renewal celebration or regeneration of the spirit may give the individuals life direction or guidance in previously misguided areas The Native American Sun Dance is a celebration where the sacrifice of past difficulties and misdirected ideals andor paths may cause the participants to gain strength and understanding in their lives This is also a time to celebrate how the world was once created and to insure harmony between all living things Thomas King proves this thesis using the characters Alberta and Lionel Alberta Frank is a Native American woman teaching native studies to a small group of white students at the University of Calgary This Native American woman is lecturing on the destruction aimed at reservations a topic integral to her life and one from which a great deal of passion should be generated However her uninspiring and spiritless lesson causes certain individuals to fall asleep sit virtually in each others laps and enter into a private conversation Indirectly her lecture touches upon an important religious celebration of the Native American culture the Sun Dance She depicts the Sun Dance which celebrates the creation of earth and all of its components as a trivial and meaningless component of her peoples culture Even though she portrays such a momentous occasion as inconsequential its inclusion in her lecture is an unconscious admission to herself of how her own desire for inner peace can be realized through this cultural celebration Alberta closes her lecture by wishing her class a good long weekend then departs for home Alberta is discontent with her relationships and herself She is dating two men Lionel and Charlie
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