November is Native American Heritage Month. Celebrate by exploring works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and film by indigenous American authors from the SPL collection.
An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo (2019)
Check out the current Poet Laureate’s latest collection of poems, entwining reflections on her personal history with the history of her tribe.
“Rich and deeply engaging, An American Sunrise creates bridges of understanding while reminding readers to face and remember the past.”
—Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post, 8/13/2019. Available in print and eaudiobook.
Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation.
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (1984)
Erdrich’s groundbreaking debut novel tells the interconnected stories of the Kashpaw and Lamartine families on a Chippewa reservation in Minnesota. Told from various points of view and spanning generations, it is recommended for fans of magical realism and character driven novels. Available in print only, but other titles by Erdrich are available in ebook and eaudio format from Hoopla and Overdrive.
Louise Erdrich is member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
There There by Tommy Orange (2018)
Preparing for the Big Oakland Powwow is no small feat. Orange effortlessly weaves together the distinct voices of his large cast of characters in this debut novel, illustrating both the diversity and commonality of experience of First Nations peoples through the various threads of story. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Available in print, cd audiobook, ebook, and eaudiobook.
Tommy Orange is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma.
Winter Counts by David Weiden (2020)
In this gritty thriller set on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation, Virgil Wounded Horse is paid to dispense justice when the law can, or will, not. When his teenage nephew becomes involved with drugs, the issue becomes personal, and Virgil is drawn into a battle with the cartel that supplies the reservation. Compelling characters and the authentic portrayal of native life make this more than your standard vigilante hero fare. Available in print, ebook, and eaudiobook.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer (2019)
This nonfiction book provides a much needed counternarrative to the standard European American view of Native American history. A finalist for The National Book Award. Available in print, ebook, and eaudiobook.
David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Also recommended: Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian, available in ebook and eaudiobook. “A deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact”–Overdrive description.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie (2017)
Alexie, who won a National Book Award for his bestselling young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, processes the complicated relationship he had with his mother in this poignant and raw memoir. Available in print, cd audiobook, Playaway, ebook, and eaudiobook.
Sherman Alexie is a A Spokane/Coeur D’Alene Indian.
Indian Horse (Film, 2017)
Saul Indian Horse is sent to a Canadian residential school as a young boy. Despite the deprivations and abuse he endures there, he discovers ice hockey and becomes a star player. The film is based on the 2012 novel by Richard Wagamese. Available in DVD.
Richard Wagamese was an Ojibwe from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations.