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Sherman Alexie Gives Disenrollment The Bird

A Native student asked Sherman Alexie what he thought about Indian gaming and the author didn’t mince words.

Last summer, Sherman Alexie sounded off on disenrollment with a profane Tweet that went viral. On Friday night in Lakewood, Washington, he added an exclamation point to his criticism of disenrollment and tribal leaders who practice it.

Alexie spoke at the McGavick Conference Center on the Clover Park Technical College, in support of “Pierce County Reads.”

In conjunction with his reading from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and book signing, he met with a group of Native higher education students from Clover Park Technical College, University of Washington-Tacoma, Evergreen State College, Northwest Indian College-Nisqually, and Chief Leschi Schools.

During the discussion, a Native student asked Alexie what he thought about Indian gaming. Alexie denounced the evils of tribal gaming, explaining that its revenues have created a capitalistic culture that breeds things like disenrollment.

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“Look at what's happening with the Nooksack Tribe, where you have a chairman who is adopted into the tribe, trying to disenroll tribal members,” Alexie said with disdain. He was referring to the mass disenrollment of “the Nooksack 306.”

He also criticized the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s disenrollment situation, pointing out the absurdity of disenrolling a large family of tribal members after once honoring those members’ ancestor as Grand Marshal of the Tribes’ parade.

Alexie said he is “disgusted” with the whole notion of disenrollment.

After his reading, Alexie, sporting a t-shirt bearing the Nooksack 306 logo, expressed his disgust with a middle finger, and a note he wrote on a Post-it similar to those taken for the Stop Disenrollment movement: “F--- Your Disenrollment Bullshit.” True to form, he did not mince his words.

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