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Sherman Alexie's semi-autobiographical YA novel tells a complicated story of life as a Native teenager

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a young adult novel that tells the story of Arnold Spirit Jr. as he tries to chart a new course for his future — leaving the underfunded school on his reservation for the so-called white school in a nearby town. It's also one of the most frequently banned books in America.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe discusses the novel and its cultural impact with three expert readers.

This episode was originally produced August 2022.


  • Christina Roberts | director of the Indigenous Peoples Institute at Seattle University; associate professor in English and in women, gender, and sexuality studies at Seattle University and an enrolled member of the Fort Belknap Indian Community
  • Leah Slick Driscoll| social studies teacher at the Meskwaki Settlement School, enrolled member of the Meskwaki Nation and a descendant of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Lance Foster | archaeologist, author, artist and vice chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio