Native

Literature
It is unfairly noted that Native Literature written by Natives offends many
readers with its discussion of the first-hand social ills affecting fellow

Natives. However, the typical stories of Euro-Canadian relations constructed
outside the Aboriginal thought imprisons all Aboriginals into stereotypes which
obscure and distort their very real experiences. The obligation of the Native
artist is to remain grounded in cultural soil and ideals, which is determined by

Euro-Canadian standards, while at the same time establishing a foundation of
justice and truth within the context of their work. Ian Ross has addressed many
of these social ills in his play fareWel. Using humor, characterization and
personal experience Ross depicts reserve life from outside the Euro-Canadian
perspective, as being hopeful despite the blatant despair and antagonism reserve
life contains. The Partridge Crop Reserve in Manitoba is a fictional place where
the fictional characters Melvin MacKay, Sheldon Traverse, Rachel Traverse,

Phyllis Bruce, Teddy Sinclair, and Robert Traverse, become muses through which

Ross uses to convey poignant information about the need for social reform for
social ills. The representation of the treatment of Native women throughout
history has been from a one-sided view. Either they were seen as unequal or as
royalty, resulting in being branded as squaws or Indian Princess by the people
who adhere to the Christian point of view. Ross seems to understand this
falsehood and attempts to rectify it with the creation of the characters Phyllis

Bruce and Rachel Traverse. They are both reserved based Native Women, who lived
a hard and fast life, but respect the church, however they are neither squaws
nor Indian Princesses. Phyllis is a single-parent who was beaten by her husband
but attempts to use this experience to strengthen Rachel by saying, "You
can hide in the roof here OK? That's where I used to hide so I didn't get beat
up" (pg.66). There are few options for Native, uneducated, and
single-parent women and Phyllis chooses to use her mind to fight the struggle
which emphasizes the significant role woman as mothers and providers are forced
to play. Also throughout the play Phyllis is constantly looking for a way to
feed her kids while in the same thought explores how to feed a church full of
people with "sardines" and "moldy bread" (pg.66). This
highly illustrates that despite the obvious misfortune that Phyllis is entwined
in she stills feels compelled to do her duty to her church, her friends, and
herself. Phyllis is the symbol of strength for her enduring and overcoming.

Rachel was created to emphasize the insurmountable difficulties that Native
women face, first as being the Native woman, and second, for being unable to
achieve economic or social value. She relays this message to the reader when she
states, "...and when I left here I realized what I was...A woman. A Native
woman. With no education. No money. No future." (pg. 68) In order to gain
economic value she had to prostitute herself due to the lack of adequate means
to legitimate opportunities. It is a horror that is greatly misinterpreted by
her fellow Natives for instance, Teddy constantly refers to her as a
"hooker" (pg. 58) or a "slut" (pg.59), which only proves
that the spirit of a native woman can never be broken. In her desperate attempts
to gain economic freedom she was unfairly judged and subsequently lost social
status. Although Rachel yearns to leave the reserve it is her deep sense of hope
that the reserve will overcome the turmoil that keeps her there. Her welfare
check also keeps her in a constant reality check because without it she is
forced to resort to being the "whore"(pg.59) It is Rachel and Phyllis
that truly define the meaning of hope with their conquests for self betterment.

The essence of this play is captured by its ability to add comic relief in its
context through each characters unique disposition. But, it is Nigger with his
abnormal actions, thoughts and appearance, which brings humor to the play the
most efficiently. Our first experience with Nigger is when "Animush"
(pg.22) attacks him leaving him with an open scar and torn jeans. The humor lies
in the image of Nigger who is obviously in pain props "himself against the
doorframe" (pg. 22) while being "hit in the head with a fishhead"
(pg.22). The second entourage we witness is one of a drunken Nigger with his
even drunker friend Teddy. As Nigger claims to need "medcin"(pg.27)
his friend offers a drink instead of medicine for Niggers' toothache. Alcohol as
a drink is not a form of medicine rather it