OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Speaker to focus humor on Native American issues

05/11/2005

CORVALLIS - Native American writer, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie will lace a talk about contemporary Native American life with humor on Thursday, May 19, at Oregon State University.

"Without Reservations: An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World" starts at 7:30 p.m. at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center at 26th Street and Western Boulevard. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be sign language-interpreted.

A Spokane/Coeur d' Alene Indian, Alexie wrote the screenplay for the 1998 motion picture "Smoke Signals," which was based on one of his stories.

Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane. He received his bachelor's degree in American studies from Washington State University in Pullman in 1994. Two of his poetry collections - "The Business of Fancydancing" and "I Would Steal Horses" - were published just one year after he graduated from WSU. He is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.

His book, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven," earned the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, founded by the late Mary Hemingway - wife of Ernest Hemingway - in 1976 to honor her late husband and draw attention to first books of fiction.

Other Alexie works include "Indian Killer" and "Ten Little Indians."

Alexie's talk is part of a week of activities on the OSU campus related to Native American issues and culture. The university's 29th annual Native American Student Association Klatowa Eena Powwow starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, and continues through the evening, resuming at noon on Sunday, May 22.

The seventh annual Native American Salmon Bake starts at noon on Thursday, May 19, in the courtyard area between Snell and Waldo Halls on the OSU campus. Free and open to the public, the three-hour event includes authentic Native American foods and entertainment.