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Books for Native American Heritage Month

Learn about Native American history and hear the voices of Native Americans.

November 10, 2022

Nonfiction

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, And The Teachings Of Plants

Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

The Heathen School by John Demos

The Heathen School
A Story Of Hope And Betrayal In The Age Of The Early Republic

John Demos

Documents the story of a widespread early 19th-century missionary project that reflected the Christian views of a fledgling United States, tracing how the successes of a Christian school in various world regions were eventually tested by interracial marriages and bitter controversies

Voices Of The Winds by Margot Edmonds, Ella E Clark

Voices Of The Winds
Native American Legends

Margot Edmonds, Ella E Clark

Indian legends describe the beauty of the natural world, the creation, the origin of fire, historical events, and spiritual truths.

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem

Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages–bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers–be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness.

Earth Keeper by N Scott Momaday

Earth Keeper
Reflections On The American Land

N Scott Momaday

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet celebrates the oral tradition of his Native American culture as he recalls the stories of his childhood, passed down for generations, and their profound and sacred connection to the natural world.

An Indigenous Peoples' History Of The United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

An Indigenous Peoples’ History Of The United States

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Told from the point of view of Native Americans, challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how the policies against the indigenous peoples was genocidal and imperialist.

Lakota America by Pekka Hamalainen

Lakota America
A New History Of Indigenous Power

Pekka Hamalainen

Offers a comprehensive history of the Lakota Indians and their profound role in shaping America’s history.

The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee
Native America From 1890 To The Present

David Treuer

In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes’ distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Stand
Custer, Sitting Bull, And The Battle Of The Little Bighorn

Nathaniel Philbrick

Analyzes the characters and contributions of the Plains Indians leader and forefront Union cavalry officer while explaining how the conflict forged a Native American alliance and set the stage for the reservation confinement of major tribal leaders.

This Land Is Their Land by David J Silverman

This Land Is Their Land
The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, And The Troubled History Of Thanksgiving

David J Silverman

The author of Thundersticks presents an account of the Plymouth colony’s founding that incorporates the perspectives of Wampanoag witnesses and contributors, documenting the events that led to the creation and violent dissolution of essential peace agreements.

Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples by Lucianne Lavin

Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples
What Archaeology, History, And Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities And Cultures

Lucianne Lavin

Describes the history and culture of the indigenous people of Connecticut.

The Earth Is Weeping by Peter Cozzens

The Earth Is Weeping
The Epic Story Of The Indian Wars For The American West

Peter Cozzens

A history of the struggle between white forces and Native Americans over the fate of the post-Civil War West details the deconstruction of tribal culture to establish the modern U.S., covering such topics as the conditions endured by frontier soldiers and the ethical quandaries of military officials who sympathized with Native adversaries.

The Earth Is All That Lasts by Mark Lee Gardner

The Earth Is All That Lasts
Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, And The Last Stand Of The Great Sioux Nation

Mark Lee Gardner

This magisterial dual biography of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, who names are iconic and whose significance in American history is undeniable, paints both a triumphant and tragic portrait of these two fascinating and heroic leaders struggling to maintain the freedom of their people.

We Had A Little Real Estate Problem by Kliph Nesteroff

We Had A Little Real Estate Problem

Kliph Nesteroff

An acclaimed comedy historian explores how Native Americans have influenced and advanced the entertainment industry, tracing the achievements of performers ranging from Will Rogers and Adrianne Chalepah to Hill and the 1491s

Covered With Night by Nicole Eustace

Covered With Night
A Story Of Murder And Indigenous Justice In Early America

Nicole Eustace

An immersive tale of the killing of a Native American man and its far-reaching consequences for Colonial America. In the summer of 1722, on the eve of a conference between the Five Nations of the Iroquois and British-American colonists, two colonial furtraders brutally attacked an Indigenous hunter in colonial Pennsylvania. The crime set the entire mid-Atlantic on edge, with many believing that war was imminent.

Weaving Sundown In A Scarlet Light by Joy Harjo

Weaving Sundown In A Scarlet Light
Fifty Poems For Fifty Years

Joy Harjo

A magnificent selection of fifty poems to celebrate three-term US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s fifty years as a poet.

Biography and Memoir

Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

Poet Warrior

Joy Harjo

Three-term poet laureate Joy Harjo offers a vivid, lyrical, and inspiring call for love and justice in this contemplation of her trailblazing life.

Spirit Run by Noe Alvarez

Spirit Run
A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land

Noe Alvarez

A debut memoir by the son of working-class Mexican immigrants describes his upbringing in Washington State, membership in the Peace and Dignity Journeys movement and competition in the Native American cultural marathon from Canada to Guatemala.

Good Friday On The Rez by David Bunnell

Good Friday On The Rez
A Pine Ridge Odyssey

David Bunnell

A magnificent mix of memoir and recent Native American history is told through a 280-mile car trip around the Pine Ridge Reservation where the author lived during and after the siege at Wounded Knee, tracking the torment and miraculous resurrection of Native American pride, spirituality and culture.

Killing Crazy Horse by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard

Killing Crazy Horse
The Merciless Indian Wars In America

Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard

The authors of Killing the SS document the fraught history of America’s founding on previously occupied lands, covering events ranging from the presidential ordered destruction of Tecumseh’s alliance of tribes to the Trail of Tears.

Carry by Toni Jensen

Carry
A Memoir Of Survival On Stolen Land

Toni Jensen

Explains what it means to exist as an indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author’s encounters with gun violence.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Heart Berries

Terese Marie Mailhot

The author recounts her coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest where she survived a dysfunctional childhood and found herself hospitalized with a dual diagnosis of PTSD and bipolar II disorder.

Fiction

Empire Of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Empire Of Wild

Cherie Dimaline

A story inspired by the Canadian Mâetis legend of the Rogarou finds a woman reconnecting with her heritage when her missing husband reappears in the form of a charismatic preacher who does not recognize her.

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence

Louise Erdrich

The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author presents an unusual novel in which a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman

Louise Erdrich

A historical novel based on the life of the National Book Award-winning author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights.

Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford

Crooked Hallelujah

Kelli Jo Ford

A first collection by an award-winning Cherokee writer traces four generations of Native American women as they navigate cultural dynamics, religious beliefs, the 1980s oil bust, devastating storms and unreliable men to connect with their ideas about home.

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

The Removed

Brandon Hobson

Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago–from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson.

Where The Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Where The Dead Sit Talking

Brandon Hobson

Literally and figuratively scarred by his unstable upbringing, Cherokee teen Sequoyah is placed in foster care with the Troutt family, and bonds with fellow foster child Rosemary, who shares his Native American background and tumultuous past.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians

Stephen Graham Jones

A novel that blends classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives.

My Heart Is A Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

My Heart Is A Chainsaw

Stephen Graham Jones

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies– especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

House Made Of Dawn by N Scott Momaday

House Made Of Dawn

N Scott Momaday

A young Native American, Abel has come home from war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father’s, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world–modern, industrial America–pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, trying to claim his soul, and goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of depravity and disgust.

There There by Tommy Orange

There There

Tommy Orange

A novel– which grapples with the complex history of Native Americans; with an inheritance of profound spirituality; and with a plague of addiction, abuse and suicide– follows 12 characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E Staples

This Town Sleeps

Dennis E Staples

Engaging in a secret affair with a closeted white man, an Ojibwe from a northern Minnesota reservation navigates small-town discrimination before a ghost leads him to the grave of a basketball star whose murder becomes linked to a local legend.

When Two Feathers Fell From The Sky by Margaret Verble

When Two Feathers Fell From The Sky

Margaret Verble

After disaster strikes during one of her shows, Two Feathers, a young Cherokee horse-diver on loan to Glendale Park Zoo from a Wild West show, must get to the bottom of a mystery that spans centuries with the help of an eclectic cast of characters.

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble

Cherokee America

Margaret Verble

In the Spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation, Check, a wealthy farmer and mother of five boys, must protect her mixed-race family and tight-knit community at all costs when violence erupts.

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Winter Counts

David Heska Wanbli Weiden

A vigilante enforcer on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation enlists the help of an ex to investigate the activities of an expanding drug cartel, while a new tribal council initiative raises controversial questions.

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

The Seed Keeper

Diane Wilson

A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Guardian Angels & Other Monsters by Daniel H Wilson

Guardian Angels & Other Monsters

Daniel H Wilson

Displaying the depth and breadth of his vision, the New York Times best-selling author of Robopocalypse presents a collection of stories that examines how artificial intelligence both saves and destroys humanity.

Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson

Probably Ruby

Lisa Bird-Wilson

Spanning time and multiple points of view, a new voice in indigenous fiction introduces us to Ruby, a bold, complex and unapologetic woman who, adopted by white parents, goes in search of her identity as her life spins wildly out of control.

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

Shutter

Ramona Emerson

A forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force, Rita Todacheene, who sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues the other investigators overlook, is caught in the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels when a furious ghost sets her on a path of vengeance.

Woman Of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Woman Of Light

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

In 1930s Denver, Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, begins having visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory where she must save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.

Calling For A Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

Calling For A Blanket Dance

Oscar Hokeah

Follows the life of Ever Geimausaddle, a young Native American, through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face policy corruption, threats of job loss, constant resettlement and the pent up rage of centuries of injustice.

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse

Fevered Star

Rebecca Roanhorse

Living avatars, Serapio and Naranpa, fight to stay human in the face of changes that will transform the great city of Tova as tense alliances form and far-away enemies gather, in the second novel of the series.

White Horse by Erika T Wurth

White Horse

Erika T Wurth

A gritty, vibrant debut novel about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit.

YA Fiction

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper’s Daughter

Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

Man Made Monsters by Andrea L Rogers

Man Made Monsters

Andrea L Rogers

Haunting illustrations are woven throughout these horror stories that follow one extended Cherokee family across the centuries and well into the future as they encounter predators of all kinds in each time period.

A Snake Falls To Earth by Darcie Little Badger

A Snake Falls To Earth

Darcie Little Badger

Fifteen-year-olds Nina and Oli come from different words–she is a Lipan Apache living in Texas and he is a cottonmouth from the Reflecting World–but their lives intersect when Oli journeys to Earth to find a cure for his ailing friend and they end up helping each other save their families.

The Summer Of Bitter And Sweet by Jenny Ferguson

The Summer Of Bitter And Sweet

Jenny Ferguson

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel about a Metis girl living on the Canadian prairies, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person–and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth.

YA Nonfiction

Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid To Ask by Anton Treuer

Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid To Ask

Anton Treuer

An Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist answers the most commonly asked questions about Native Americans, both historical and modern.