Alexie’s appearance also will help dispel the stereotype that Native Americans have “vanished,” Bernardin said.
“His presence can tell us that Native Americans are here, contemporary and diverse,” she said. “He upsets all the stereotypes.”
Alexie has won awards for his work, which includes poems, short stories and novels about contemporary Native American reservation life. “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven” (1993) won a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction, a media release said, and his semi-autobiographical young adult novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (2007) won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Alexie is a four-time World Poetry Bout champion and stand-up comedian who has been featured on “Politically Incorrect,” “60 Minutes II,” “NOW with Bill Moyers” and “The Colbert Report.”
“It is exciting to host Sherman Alexie, not only to interact with our students, but also to engage with an audience that is as broad as possible, “ said SUNY Oneonta Provost Maria Thompson in the release.
In 2010, the college committed to advancing diversity as one of six pillars supporting its strategic plan, the release said. The common read aligns with this goal by encouraging students to examine topics such as equity, inclusion and personal history.