Sherman Alexie quotes, anecdotes and one-liners


Noted Native American author Sherman Alexie spoke in Lakewood recently as part of the Pierce County READS program. During his 90-minute speech and question and answer time, he gave plenty of soundbites sure to rile up nearly anyone.

Alexie is both an irreverent and powerful speaker, using coarse language and not caring about offending people in the name of art.

The following are just some of the hilarious anecdotes, one-liners and stories he shared Friday. If you get the chance to hear him, do so.

Bernie Sanders

“Trying to convince me that a 78-year-old, white, multi-term Senator is going to lead the revolution … you really gonna sell that to me, a brown guy?”

“You Bernie-ites need to work on your math.”

“Why do brown people love Hillary? Because she’s gotten shit done for 30 years for brown people.”

Donald Trump

“Fuck Donald Trump.”

Alexie thought those might be his final words and he was OK with that.

He was set to undergo brain surgery to remove a tumor recently and while high on valium, he noted that of the 20 or so doctors and nurses in the operating room, most of them had brown skin. Alexie said he was very excited about this because it is abnormal.

Before he was completely knocked about by the drugs, he uttered the above words about the likely Republican presidential nominee who is known for his hatred of folks with non-white skin.

Banned books

“Art is not supposed to have decorum.”

“People ban my book not because of its political ideas or racism, but because a teenage boy mentions three times that he likes masturbation.

“If you are uncomfortable with that, how are you going to deal with the real issues in the world?”


“White people: You got all the land and money, and now you want all the paranoia.”

“Shit, this place is white.” “What place?” “The Northwest.”


“You homophobes want gay people to stop having sex? Let them get married and adopt kids … force them to adopt a toddler every two years. They’ll never have sex again.”


After waking up from his brain surgery, he was in his hospital room and his Indian doctor was at his bedside.

Alexie turned to him and said, “I bet this is the first time an Indian has scalped an Indian.”

No one laughed. The doctor just stared at him.

Alexie figured something must’ve gone wrong during the surgery and he thought he was saying things, but it wasn’t actually coming out of his mouth.

His wife then leaned over and said, “You’ve told that joke 11 times.”

“The lesson,” Alexie said, “is that everyone needs an editor.”


“I believe in interpreting coincidence exactly the way I want to. I’m Catholic.”

While telling a story about how his Little League team rode in the back of a pickup on the freeway to games

“If we would’ve wrecked, it would’ve wiped out our tribe. They would’ve built a monument that said, ‘Forget Custer, it was Chevy that killed the Spokane Indians.’”


“The tribe got a grant – the preface of any Reservation Indian’s life.”

“A very limited power we have as a Native American people is we can lie our asses off and you are going to believe us.”

“All history is a series of lies that are told until we believe them.”


“We become who we’re with – you can choose your destiny by choosing your friends.”

Going to the bathroom

“I pee sitting down because that is just polite.”

– Craig Craker


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Randy Craker says:

    How do you hear about these events and places you go to. Sounds like an interesting man.

    *Randall J. Craker*


    Northwest District Church of the Nazarene



    *From:* Traveling the PNW [] *Sent:* Wednesday, May 4, 2016 5:34 AM *To:* *Subject:* [New post] Sherman Alexie quotes, anecdotes and one-liners

    travelingthepnw posted: ” Noted Native American author Sherman Alexie spoke in Lakewood recently as part of the Pierce County READS program. During his 90-minute speech and question and answer time, he gave plenty of soundbites sure to rile up nearly anyone. Alexie i”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We heard about this talk because it was advertised in the community as part of a reading program. And since he is one of my favorite authors I wanted to go hear him.

      Bonus benefit is that it was free!


  2. jill i says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing so many of Sherman’s gems. I met him about a week before this event when he attended the double-header performances at Book-It Theater’s production of The Brothers K. The author of that book (David James Duncan) was my brother’s best friend growing up and our families were very intertwined. David and Sherman have become good friends over the years, so Sherman was there with his family. We spoke briefly – when I offered my hand he gave me a fist to bump because he said he was sick and not wanting to spread germs. He was very dynamic, gentle, and compassionate in our brief exchange.


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