Breaking Out of the “Reservation of My Mind”


Sherman Alexie always loved to read, but it never occurred to him that he—or any other Native American, for that matter—could become a writer.

That all changed when he read a poem by Adrian C. Louis and came to the following line: “O Uncle Adrian! I’m in the reservation of my mind.”

Read his thunderclap of an essay about the experience, as well as a reprinting of the fateful poem, in the Atlantic.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →