March 28, 2011

Tulalip Reads for Unity

See Sherman Alexie

By Julie MuhlsteinAward-winning author Sherman Alexie will be at Tulalip Casino on Tuesday evening for a free event. It's part of Tulalip Reads for Unity, a new literacy program presented by the Northwest Indian College-Tulalip.

For the past month, people in the Tulalip community have been reading Alexie's young-adult novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." Like the book's main character, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Alexie, winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and other prestigious literary prizes, will talk about the book at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Orca Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort Casino, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd.

Brooke Waite-Kellar, site manager of the Northwest Indian College-Tulalip, said Tulalip Reads for Unity was made possible by a donation from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. About 260 free copies of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" were distributed to people on the Tulalip Reservation, "from middle-schoolers to elders," Waite-Kellar said. Alexie's appearance is one of several events planned for Tulalip Reads for Unity.
Comment:  Alexie's Absolutely True Diary has been part of non-Native reading programs before: Two Alexie Books for "One Philadelphia" and True Diary Chosen as One Book. But this is the first I've heard of a tribal reading program.

Using Absolutely True Diary for such a program is a good idea. The book is culturally appropriate for Indians in general and Pacific Northwest Indians in particular. Since it's a young-adult novel, it shouldn't be intimidating to adults. One hopes it'll encourage reading while instilling a bit of Native pride.

For more on the subject, see Bestselling Native Children's Books and Classmates Thought Alexie Would Shoot Them.

1 comment:

Renee Roman Nose said...

Sherman Alexie's appearance as part of Tulalip Reads for Unity is sponsored by Northwest Indian College, Tulalip Charitable Funds, and the Northwest Indian College Cooperative Extension. The event is free and open to the public. Thanks, Rob, for writing about it.
Renee Roman Nose
Outreach Coordinator
Northwest Indian College