Balancing Modern and Traditional Living
Balance is an important factor in every life. It’s essential to maintain the control and calm while also experiencing the highs and lows. In Keeper ‘N Me by Richard Wagamese, the protagonist, Garnet Raven, is struggling to figure out his identity knowing that his skin is brown but not understanding how to be “Indyunn” as he was brought up “…in all-white homes, going to all-white schools [and] playing with all-white kids…”
Technology and material items of this new, fast paced life along with media that promotes Indians negatively and the pressure of making your existence count by working so much you have no time to actually enjoy life and all of its values are some of the reasons that balance is even more essential now than ever.
The attraction of modern and ‘shiny’ things, as Keeper says, that pull people away from traditional practices and values are indeed, extremely persuasive.
It’s difficult to choose because they “wanna be a part of one world cause it’s all shiny and fast but afraid to let go of the other world that’s slower and more familiar.”. This new world, it’s fast paced, technologically advanced and overwhelming and it’s exceptionally diverse from the peace and calm of life on the reserve. Garnet wants to assimilate to modern society because “[he] was embarrassed about being an Indian…” and at various times he was Hawaiian, Polynesian, Mexican or Chinese; basically anything other than the “scary lookin’, dirty, drunk, fightin’ in the streets or passed out in the alley”
Indians that his foster father has shown him a while back. The speed of the world is getting faster and faster with the Whitemans inventions and it’s hard to differentiate between worlds, the lure of the unknown is great and this modern time is unfamiliar to the ‘born to the land’ Indians. Media is, by far, an important source of a lot of our self-education nowadays and we rely on this permanent source of information to help us learn more about other cultures, beliefs and topics.
But it can also be a problematic device as rumours and stereotypical opinions can be spread with a click of the mouse. Back then, books were the major source of information, and when the only books written are by white-men who only are one viewpoint of many in the world, things can get pretty one-sided and it’s hard to know what’s actually an accurate source of truthful information.