Borders: Border and Blackfoot Culture

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Living on The Edge

Having a strong connection with your culture is extremely important. Culture is like a home. It is somewhere you can be comfortable and express yourself. Like the majority of us, our families influence our decisions and opinions. In Thomas Kings short story, “Borders”, the protagonist is always searching for his cultural identity. His views and opinions on his culture are greatly influenced by his mothers Blackfoot pride and her connection with her culture. She influences the protagonist throughout the story in different settings, such as at the border and in Salt Lake City with Laetitia. The author uses the border setting as a representation of the protagonist as well. Like a border sitting between two countries, the protagonist lies between two cultures; his Blackfoot culture and the American culture.

His mother’s actions at the border and the reaction from the public influenced the protagonist’s opinion of his Blackfoot heritage. As they pull up to the border station, a guard asks the protagonist’s mother for her citizenship, she responds “Blackfoot”. To this, the guard insists “you have to be American or Canadian” (King 505). She had the decision to give up on her beliefs and say she was Canadian or stick with her opinion and insist that she was a Blackfoot. The protagonist states that “it would have been easier if my mother had just said “Canadian” and been done with it” (503). Even though he does not yet have a very strong relationship with his culture, the actions of his mother made him begin to look differently at being a Blackfoot. She never denied her heritage. Her courage and determination left a monumental impact on her son and changed how he viewed this side of his culture. The huge reaction from the media and the public also influenced the protagonists opinion on his Blackfoot culture. “The television vans began to arrive, and guys in suits and women in dresses came trotting over to us” (507). The attention from the...
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