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Native American Heritage Month: Celebrating the First Americans

November is Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

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Native American Heritage Month Recommended Reads

Lessons from Turtle Island

Lessons from Turtle Island explores Native American issues in preschool and early primary education. The authors--one Native, one white--offer guidelines for learning experiences that move children beyond embedded stereotypes.


Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. #Not Your Princess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

Braiding Sweetgrass

"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.""-- Provided by publisher.

As Long As Grass Grows

"Interrogating the concept of environmental justice in the U.S. as it relates to Indigenous peoples, this book argues that a different framework must apply compared to other marginalized communities, while it also attends to the colonial history and structure of the U.S. and ways Indigenous peoples continue to resist, and ways the mainstream environmental movement has been an impediment to effective organizing and allyship"-- Provided by publisher.

The White Possessive

The White Possessive explores the links between race, sovereignty, and possession through themes of property: owning property, being property, and becoming propertyless.

I Am Where I Come From

"I Am Where I Come From presents the autobiographies of thirteen Native American undergraduates and graduates of Dartmouth College, ten of them current and recent students. Twenty years ago, Cornell University Press published First Person, First Peoples: Native American College Graduates Tell Their Life Stories, also about the experiences of Native American students at Dartmouth College. I Am Where I Come From addresses similar themes and experiences, but it is very much a new book for a new generation of college students. Three of the essays from the earlier book are gathered into a section titled "Continuing Education," each followed by a shorter reflection from the author on his or her experience since writing the original essay. All three have changed jobs multiple times, returned to school for advanced degrees, started and increased their families, and, along the way, continuously revised and refined what it means to be Indian. The autobiographies contained in I Am Where I Come From explore issues of native identity, adjustment to the college environment, cultural and familial influences, and academic and career aspirations."--Publisher's Web site.

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

"As a boy, Chester Nez was taught his native language and culture were useless, but he was later called on to use his Navajo language to help create an unbreakable military code during WWII"-- Provided by publisher.

Give Me Some Truth

In 1980 life is hard on the Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York, and most of the teenagers feel like they are going nowhere: Carson Mastick dreams of forming a rock band, and Maggi Bokoni longs to create her own conceptual artwork instead of the traditional beadwork that her family sells to tourists--but tensions are rising between the reservation and the surrounding communities, and somehow in the confusion of politics and growing up Carson and Maggi have to make a place for themselves.

Sovereign Entrepreneurs

A study of small businesses and small business owners who are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). The EBCI has an especially long history of incorporated, citizen-owned businesses located on their reservation. Many people stop with casinos or natural-resource intensive enterprise when they think of Indigenous-owned businesses, but on Qualla Boundary today, Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic independence extends to art galleries, restaurants, a bookstore, a funeral parlor, and more.

Tulalip, from My Heart

The author describes her life on the Tulalip Reservation and recounts the myriad problems tribes faced after resettlement. Born in 1904, Dover grew up hearing the elders of her tribe tell of the hardships involved in moving from their villages to the reservation on Tulalip Bay: inadequate food and water, harsh economic conditions, and religious persecution outlawing potlatch houses and other ceremonial practices.

Fry Bread: a Native American Family Story

Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes.

A Day With Yayah

On an outing in Nicola Valley, British Columbia, a Native American family forages for herbs and mushrooms while the grandmother passes down her language and knowledge to her young grandchildren. Includes glossary.

American Indian Medicine Ways

The book highlights American Indian spiritual leaders, miracle healings, and ceremonies that have influenced American history and shows their continued significance--Provided by publisher.


A darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions.

Did you know....?

....that this nation's first literature originated in the verbal arts of the native peoples (called oral literatures) who migrated to this continent over 28,000 years ago? 

....that songs constitute the largest part of American Indian oral literatures?

...that at the time of first contact with Western Europeans, the native peoples were divided into more than 300 cultural groups and spoke 200 different languages

....that Susan La Flesche, an Omaha Indian from Nebraska, became the first female American Indian physician in 1889?

....that Native Americans have enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces at a higher rate than other ethnicities?

....that National American Indian Heritage Month was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1990?

....that the first Indigenous American to be canonized as a saint was known as the “Lily of the Mohawks?”

....that a Lakota man, Nicholas Black Elk, may be canonized by the Catholic Church very soon?

Native American Resources on the Web