Sherman Alexie speaks at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, on April 22, 2016, during an event hosted by the ASU RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All: Collaboration and Creativity at Work. Photo: ASU Department of English

Native women go on record with NPR about dealings with Sherman Alexie

Three women, two of them Native, went on the record with National Public Radio about their dealings with Sherman Alexie and said they felt pressured into sexual situations with the award-winning writer.

In a story posted on Monday, Jeanine Walker, Erika Wurth and Elissa Washuta told reporter Lynn Neary that Alexie used his prominence in the literary world to draw them into compromising situations. Alexie ended up giving Wurth a favorable quote for her first book, Indian Trains, after she said she engaged in a sexual encounter with him.

"I just was like, I don't ever want to be around this guy again," Wurth, who is Apache, Chickasaw and Cherokee, told NPR. "He's poisonous. He's not OK."

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Washuta, who is a citizen of the Cowlitz Tribe, also told NPR that Alexie tried to lure her into a sexual encounter. She was a writing instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, a congressionally chartered college in New Mexico, but felt uncomfortable because Alexie was also working there and was particularly prominent -- up until last week, a scholarship was named after him.

"I'm not a part of it," Washuta told NPR, referring to IAIA. "And that feels so lonely. I'm incredibly sad about it."

Prior to the publication of a story on Indianz.Com last Wednesday about the allegations, Alexie did not respond to inquiries about his actions. It was only later in the day did he issue a blanket apology.

"There are women telling the truth about my behavior," Alexie admitted in the statement, which was issued late in the evening. But he said he had "no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers," as some have alleged.

"I have made poor decisions and I am working hard to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions," he added.

Alexie is descended from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Spokane Tribe. He grew up on the Spokane Reservation in Washington.

Read More on the Story:
'It Just Felt Very Wrong:' Sherman Alexie's Accusers Go On The Record (NPR March 5, 2018)

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