Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™
by Rebecca Roanhorse
This story won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 2017, but I actually only discovered it yesterday when I was checking out the author of a book I am thinking about reading. That book is Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, a fantasy novel with a Navajo protagonist on a reservation. It looked interesting but I was suspicious about the author (ie, they’d better not be white.)
That whole thought process turned out to be an excellent introduction to her short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” which is available for free online although you can also pay for a kindle version if you want to support her. It’s a sci-fi short story but in a casual way: there’s future technology, but the point is the characters and how they interact. Our main character Jesse Turnblatt is an Indian on a reservation with a job at a tourist destination offering tourist an “authentic indian experience”.
The story is pretty much about how different an authentic experience is from an Authentic Experience™. And there’s a difference between being complicit and being malicious but neither are good. And the end of the story hits like a punch.
So really everyone needs to read this story because I need other people to talk to about it, or at least to stare at each other wide-eyed while we think of what to even say.
It’s really good.