What to read during Native American Heritage Month

There There - A book by Tommy Orange set in Oakland, California.

There There by Tommy Orange

Winner of the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award. Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle's death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand. (Penguin Books)

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States By ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ

Look Inside An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

Our History Is the Future by Nick Estes

Our History Is the Future by Nick Estes

How two centuries of Indigenous resistance created the movement proclaiming “Water is life”. In Our History Is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance. 

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

This novel is based on the life of the author's grandfather.

Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians.

An American Genocide The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley

An American Genocide The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley

Between 1846 and 1873, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the slaughter, the involvement of state and federal officials, the taxpayer dollars that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended. This deeply researched book is a comprehensive and chilling history of an American genocide.

We Are Dancing for You Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies By Cutcha Risling Baldy

We Are Dancing for You Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies By Cutcha Risling Baldy

Deeply rooted in Indigenous knowledge, Risling Baldy brings us the voices of people transformed by cultural revitalization, including the accounts of young women who have participated in the Flower Dance. Using a framework of Native feminisms, she locates this revival within a broad context of decolonizing praxis and considers how this renaissance of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies confounds ethnographic depictions of Native women; challenges anthropological theories about menstruation, gender, and coming-of-age; and addresses gender inequality and gender violence within Native communities.

The Inconvenient Indian A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

The Inconvenient Indian - A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike. 

Domestic Subjects - Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature by Beth H. Piatote

Domestic Subjects - Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature by Beth H. Piatote

Amid the decline of U.S. military campaigns against Native Americans in the late nineteenth century, assimilation policy arose as the new front in the Indian Wars, with its weapons the deployment of culture and law, and its locus the American Indian home and family. In this groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Piatote tracks the double movement of literature and law in the contest over the aims of settler-national domestication and the defense of tribal-national culture, political rights, and territory.

Going Native - Indians in the American Cultural Imagination by Shari Hurndorf

Going Native. Indians in the American Cultural Imagination by Shari Huhndorf

Since the 1800's, many European Americans have relied on Native Americans as models for their own national, racial, and gender identities. Displays of this impulse include world's fairs, fraternal organizations, and films such as Dances with Wolves. Shari M. Huhndorf uses cultural artifacts such as these to examine the phenomenon of "going native," showing its complex relations to social crises in the broader American society.

An American Sunrise - Poem by Native American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

An American Sunrise - Poem by Joy Harjo

Native American Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings.