ORI selection to spark variety of events

imageA range of cultural events will tie into this year’s Oswego Reading Initiative book selection, Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”

The book is a collection of short stories about struggling characters growing up on a modern Spokane Indian reservation. 

Alexie will discuss his book and related topics at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the Hewitt Union ballroom. His talk is admission-free, but because of expected demand, advance tickets are recommended and available through the Hewitt Union box office.

Native American performer Bill Miller will speak to classes and present his music during a September residency. Miller will headline a concert, joined by Jim Beer and drumming group Gathering Thunder, at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. For information or reservations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

An American Indian Baskets exhibition will begin in Tyler Art Gallery the same evening, Sept. 17, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition will run through Oct. 23.

A Native American Film Series—headlined by the critically acclaimed movie “Smoke Signals,” based on Alexie’s book—will provide a visual complement to the program in early November. “Smoke Signals,” which earned two Sundance Film Festival awards and a deal with Miramax Films, will screen on Nov. 12 with actor and director Gary Farmer leading a discussion following the film. Screening time at the Oswego Theater on West Second Street is to be announced.

The film festival also will present “Little Big Man,” “Dreamkeeper” and “Last of His Tribe” at 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 9 and 10, respectively, in Hewitt Union’s Bell Auditorium.

Working the book into classes, one of the goals of the ORI program, has gone well because of the universal themes and different levels Alexie’s piece presents, said Rhonda Mandel, associate provost at SUNY Oswego. “Many teachers are integrating the book into their curriculum because it is really useful across many disciplines,” Mandel noted. Education, communication studies, Native American studies, English and first-year preceptor classes are among the participants.

This year’s program also includes an essay contest for first-year students. The winning entrant will receive a semester’s worth of free books from the College Book Store in Hewitt Union.

Previous ORI selections include “Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America” by Ruth Gruber and Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.”

For more information on Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” or the annual Oswego Reading Initiative, visit the ORI Web site at http://www.oswego.edu/ori.

(Posted: Aug 18, 2004)