I have read two of his poems – “Evolution” and “Crow Testament”, and I must tell you, that he did a pretty excellent job to convey us, under the humor of his poetry, the oppression and painful sufferings of the Native Americans.
Sherman Alexie, himself, is a Native American and has spent most of his life in “Reservation”- those small tracts of land, given to the Native Americans, with almost no resources to grow socially or economically. In these two poems, he tells Native Americans’ side of story- how they felt when European white settlers colonized their lands, forced them to convert to their religion, drained out their wealth and lives, etc.
“Evolution” features the American capitalist culture and the social Darwinism used by European settlers in the form of “ethnic cleansing”. This word implies – to wipe off the unfitted group of people from the face of Earth by the act of killing or marginalizing them. There is “Buffalo Bill” who opens a pawn shop in the Reservation and exploits Native Americans, by giving them less money in return for their goods. After he has drained them out of their goods, he opens a museum with their stuff and charges 5 bucks per head to let them see their own stuff (dark comedy).
“Crow Testament” is a poem full of biblical allusions, which Alexie has used to puncture the Christian beliefs and norms. Also, throughout the poem he questions the very act of killing by European settlers, in the name of religion.
Thus,through these 2 very popular poems of his, he presents the readers the dark history of American land.