Study Guide

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Chapter 23

By Sherman Alexie

Chapter 23


  • Grandmother's wake is held three days later, and two thousand Indians show up. No one gives Arnold any crap because they know his family is in mourning. After his grandmother dies, they stop hassling him.
  • So many people show up, they have to move the wake to the football field, though Arnold's sister Mary isn't able to come.
  • During the wake, a rich white guy named Ted stands up holding a suitcase. He gushes about how much he loves Indian people and art and songs and dances. (Junior finds this sickening and boring.)
  • Billionaire Ted, it turns out, is an art collector, and he has come into the possession of a very beautiful—though probably stolen—powwow dance outfit. He hired an expert to track its origins, and the anthropologist said it came from the Spokane Indian Reservation. Ted eventually found out that the outfit belonged to Arnold's grandmother.
  • Wracked by guilt, Billionaire Ted decides to apologize and return the outfit. He holds it up, and Junior's mother stands up. She says he has no need to apologize because her mother didn't dance and the outfit wasn't hers. In fact, the outfit didn't even look like it belonged to a Spokane person. Probably Sioux or Oglala.
  • Billionaire Ted packs up the suitcase and bolts. Then Arnold's mother started laughing, and then everyone starts laughing.
  • Laughing and crying, they bury Arnold's grandmother.