Starting November 1, I will be celebrating Native American Heritage month and I'm inviting you to share this time with me! If you've never explored the rich and diverse culture of the 3.2 million Native Americans living in this country or haven't fully realized the historical sacrifices we've made or the genocide we've faced, this month would be the perfect time for you to do so.
Listed below is a very, very small selection of Native American and Indigenous books, authors, and poetry. I hope you find at least one to read!
Mvto! (Thank you!)
1. Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
2. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (nonfiction)
3. Medicine River by Thomas King
4. Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King
5. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
6. The Round House by Louise Erdrich
7. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich
8. House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle
9. Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Vol 1 by Hope Nicholson
10. My Name is Seepteeza by Shirley Sterling
11.Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir by Theodore Fontaine (nonfic)
12. Beyond the Great River by Zoe Saadia
13. The Cure For Death By Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
14. The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andres Resendez (nonfic)
15. Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
16. Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese
17. Blue Horses Rush In: Poems and Stories by Luci Tapahonso (poetry)
18. Songs of Shiprock Fair by Luci Tapahonso (children's book)
19. Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell (middle grade)
20. Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell (poetry)
21. Playing Indian by Philip Deloria (nonfic)
22. Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Simpson (poetry and short stories)
23. All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life by Winona LaDuke (nonfic/social justice)
24. Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology by Hope Nicholson
25. If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth
26. The Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac
27. Indians in Unexpected Places by Philip Deloria (nonfic)
28. God Is Red: A Native View of Religion by Vine Deloria, JR. (nonfic)
29. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (nonfic)
30. The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo (poetry)
I just want to end this post with something I heard on Native Talk radio years ago and it stuck with me. It's hitting harder now with what is going on at Standing Rock.
“But here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in the death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing.
“But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all.
“Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks.
“Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we’re not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee.
“No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.”