The Path To The Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles By Joy Hargars Poem Analysis
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Joy Harjo’s poem “The Path to the Milky Way Leads through Los Angeles” is written with the intent to reveal the Native American struggle of having to find a way to submerge themselves into a culture that had been forced upon them. In this poem Harjo an Okmulgee Native has trouble when adjusting to the city of Los Angeles; all while still trying to hold on to her Native American heritage. This displacement of culture is what constitutes the separation between a person and their culture. Removing the art and other manifestation from a group that know nothing other than their own teachings will only cause what we see as pre-existing; which is the whitewashing of a culture. The sacredness of the Native culture is quickly overturned when the…show more content… This would create much difficulties. Within the American European culture, the significance of women carrying any agency was always invaluable. In Allen’s essay she states “There are many female gods recognized and honored by the tribes and Nations. Females were highly valued, both respected and feared, and all institutions reflected this attitude” (Allen 3) the Native American culture idolized women so much that they were seen on a godly level. This appraisal of women amongst the Native American culture was what kept women important. Opposed to the Americans, as stated that “rejection of tradition constitutes one’s major features of American life […] and the American idea that the best and brightest should willingly reject and repudiate their origins leads to an allied idea (Allen 1). The American culture is all about dismissing the value of tradition. If you are able enough to turn your back on you own beliefs and customs you are one step closer to identifying as an American. Nonetheless only those who are of the highest level within their culture should be more willing to cease to associate themselves with their own traditional values.
When this happens, the Native American now encounters a culture that they know nothing about, and in Harjo’s poem her opening sentence describes the feeling of being surrounded by a culture of people she knew nothing about. This brings forth the notion of strangeness. Harjo observes “There are