largess; the next was seen, paternalistically, as eapable of beingrnnothing more than wards of the state. This is not ancient history;rnit characterizes federal Indian policy from the end ofrnWodd War II to the present.rnIn this definitional back-and-forth, no one is quite sure whatrnthe Indian nations are meant to be. Are they sovereign states?rnFederal protectorates? Ethnic homelands? Reserves of uniquerncultures, languages, value systems? Our confusion has yieldedrna sorrv present state of affairs, in which the Indian nations arcrnheld to be sovereign—but only somewhat. The federal governmentrndetermines the nature of that sovereignty and its extent,rnwhich makes it a curious sovereignty indeed.rnWards of the state these nations truly are. Twelve executiverndepartments of the federal government now have responsibilityrnof one sort or another for administering Indian nations, reservations,rnand communities. Ever squabbling over jurisdiction,rnthese departments are mostly successful only in making certainrnthat Indian Country remains an overiooked province, afflictedrnby corruption, malfeasance, and despair. The Indian nationsrnare grim and hopeless places to be, and a significant number ofrnIndians do their best to stay away from them, living in urbanrncenters far from their ancestral lands.rnBut things are quickly changing. Indian movements acrossrnthe country are mounting to call for increased self-government.rnThanks to the mixed curse-and-blessing of Indian gambling,rnwhich has swept the country in just the last decade, dozens ofrncommunities are for the first time becoming economically selfreliant,rnfunded by the moron taxes paid by visitors to the slotsrnand tables. And many Indian communities are closing themselvesrnto outsiders, a cardinal sin in the age of culture as commodity,rnand one that has caused no end of complaints from therntourist industry.rnUnfriendly though the gesture may be, the Indian communitiesrnopting for greater distance from the dominant culture arernright to do so. Claude Levi-Strauss correctly remarked, inrnTristes Tropiques, that the beginning of the end for many Nativerncommunities was the moment a foreigner first stepped in tornstudy or administer them—or sell them liquor, drugs, religion.rnIt is something of an anachronism in this wired world to pretendrnthat the larger world does not exist, but many Indian communitiesrnhave little choice. If they do not, the larger wodd—rnthat is, the unhcalthful society in which the rest of us arcrncaught—will likely eat them alive.rnSome separatists question whether Indians and whites canrnever truly live together. Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Kootenairnwriter, says as much in his recent novel Indian Killer. Set inrnSeattle, after Los Angeles and New York the urban capital of IndianrnAmerica, Alexie’s book centers on questions of identity, onrnwho is and is not properly Indian. Its protagonist, John Smith,rnis a Navajo given up for adoption years eadier and raised byrnsympathetic and well-meaning, but in the end uncomprehending,rnwhite foster parents. Smith fits all the profiles: a hulking giant,rnhe is a loner, shunning the company of his fellow high-steelrnconstruction workers, avoiding conversation and contact. Hernalso hears voices, has violent dreams, and is haunted by ghosts.rnAlone on the streets, he has visions of nursing at hollow breasts,rnof tossing his foreman from Seattle’s tallest skyscraper. Indianrnby blood but deprived of his culture from birth, surrounded byrnhappiness but with no way to attain it, he has but one way to redeemrnhis identity. “John,” Alexie tells us, “needed to kill arnwhite man.”rnHe has plent}- of targets, straw men like a blustering talkshowrnhost named Truck Schultz (read Rush Limbaugh), wannabernIndians, New Agers, academics, unreconstructed Indian hatersrnand lovers alike. In the chain of violence that follows the adventrnof a serial murderer whom the police and press dub the IndianrnKiller, the sins of fathers are visited on their children everywhere.rnWhite vigilantes patrol the Seattle streets, fueled byrnSehultz’s exhortations. Indians hunt Anglos. All aim to beatrnhistory lessons into each other, to lay hold of the truth with pistolrnand baseball bat.rnIndian movements across therncountry are mounting to callrnfor increased self-government.rnAs a moral vision, Indian Killer is uncomplicated. Its whiterncharacters are either naive or vicious. Alexie’s Indians are betterrnpeople in every way; one or two may be prone to violence,rnbut, he suggests, always justifiably. Indeed, one of the recurringrnarguments in the book is whether the so-called Indian Killerrncan possibly be an Indian at all. One character reasons, “Whilernblack and brown men are at war with each other, their automaticrngunfire filling the urban night, the white men were huntingrntheir own mothers, lovers, daughters.” A serial killer mustrntherefore by definition be white.rnThe real world, of course, is much slipperier than all that,rnand real racism operates much more subtly. It’s a game open tornall comers, and Alexie does no one any favors by suggesting thatrn”white” means “devil.” Nonetheless, in manv corners of IndianrnCountry that view is common. Because of it, and its Indianhatingrncounterpart, Indian-Anglo relations are still covered inrnblood.rnMuch of the new separatism derives from Indian VietnamrnWar veterans, the subject of Tom Holm’s Strong Hearts,rnWounded Souls. Most Indians in Vietnam, he writes, were assignedrnto “nontechnical military occupations”—that is, frontlinerncombat assignments—through the assumption that theyrnwere likely to be braver and better fighters than soldiers fromrnother ethnic groups. Indians were thus put in the most dangerousrnpositions in battle. They suffered disproportionate casualtiesrnas a result, and they came home angry.rnWhen they returned from Vietnam, the warriors also foundrnthemselves ignored, both individually and as a group. Theyrnwere troubled by their role in the conflict. “I heard story afterrnstory about Vietnamese saying to Indians, ‘You, me, samesame,'”rnHolm recalls. “The raids on villages, rounding up civiliansrnto put them on reservations, the whole colonial thing—rnwell, this unconnected a lot of guys. They began to wonderrnwhat they were fighting for.” The war thus radicalized manyrnIndian veterans, and it was they who founded groups like the influentialrnAmerican Indian Movement, they who led the occupationsrnof Alcatraz and Wounded Knee.rnTheir radicalism has lost much of its angry edge with time, ifrnonly. Holm writes, because American Indian veterans “are fastrnJULY 1997/31rnrnrn