Special Collections

#NativeReads for Adults

Description: In honor of Native American History month, check out these great reads by authors with strong connections to Native communities. #adults


Showing 1 through 25 of 32 results

Custer Died For Your Sins

by Vine Deloria Jr.

Standing Rock Sioux activist, professor, and attorney Vine Deloria, Jr., shares his thoughts about US race relations, federal bureaucracies, Christian churches, and social scientists in a collection of eleven eye-opening essays infused with humor. This “manifesto” provides valuable insights on American Indian history, Native American culture, and context for minority protest movements mobilizing across the country throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Originally published in 1969, this book remains a timeless classic and is one of the most significant nonfiction works written by a Native American.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


Winter in the Blood

by James Welch

Welch's first novel. The author of Fool's Crow and Indian Lawyer presents an extraordinary, evocative novel about a young Native American coming to terms with his heritage--and his dreams. "A nearly flawless novel about human life". --Reynolds Price, New York Times Book Review.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


Blue Ravens

by Gerald Vizenor

Gerald Vizenor weaves an engrossing historical portrayal of Native American soldiers in World War I. Blue Ravens is set at the start of the twentieth century in the days leading up to the Great War in France, and continues in combat scenes at Chateau-Thierry, Montbrehain, and Bois de Fays. The novel contains many of Vizenor's recurrent cultural themes--the power and irony of trickster stories, the privilege of survivance over victimry, natural reason and resistance. After serving in the American Expeditionary Forces, two brothers from the Anishinaabe culture return to the White Earth Reservation where they grew up. They eventually leave for a second time to live in Paris where they lead successful and creative lives. With a spirited sense of "chance, totemic connections, and the tricky stories of our natural transience in the world," Vizenor creates an expression of presence commonly denied Native Americans. Blue Ravens is a story of courage in poverty and war, a human story of art and literature from a recognized master of the postwar American novel and one of the most original and outspoken Native voices writing today. Check for the online reader's companion at blueravens. site. wesleyan. edu.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


There There

by Tommy Orange

Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with stunning urgency and force.

Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame.

Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle's memory.

Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time.

There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.

Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking, There There is a relentlessly paced multi-generational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


Bloodlines

by Janet Campbell Hale

A collection of essays--on writing, American Indian reservation life, being a woman, and family--by a distinguished writer and member of the Coeur d'Alene tribe. In haunting prose, Hale interweaves her own experiences with striking portraits of relatives into a rich tapestry of history, storytelling, and remembrance.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


All Our Relations

by Winona Laduke

Haymarket Books proudly brings back into print Winona LaDuke's seminal work of Native resistance to oppression.This thoughtful, in-depth account of Native struggles against environmental and cultural degradation features chapters on the Seminoles, the Anishinaabeg, the Innu, the Northern Cheyenne, and the Mohawks, among others. Filled with inspiring testimonies of struggles for survival, each page of this volume speaks forcefully for self-determination and community.Winona LaDuke was named by Time in 1994 as one of America's fifty most promising leaders under forty. In 1996 and 2000, LaDuke served as Ralph Nader's vice presidential running mate in the Green Party.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


Prudence

by David Treuer

A haunting and unforgettable novel about love, loss, race, and desire in World War II-era America. On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family's rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he's about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he's been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who's been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives. With Prudence, Treuer delivers his most ambitious and captivating novel yet. Powerful and wholly original, it's a story of desire and loss and the search for connection in a riven world; of race and class in a supposedly more innocent era. Most profoundly, it's about the secrets we choose to keep, the ones we can't help but tell, and who--and how--we're allowed to love.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


Shell Shaker

by Leanne Howe

The action in this novel alternates between 1738--as a Choctaw family prepares for war against the English--and the 1990s--as their Oklahoma descendants fight a Mafia takeover of the tribe's casino.

Date Added: 10/12/2018


The Man to Send Rain Clouds

by Kenneth Rosen

The stories in this collection--now updated with a new introduction--reflect the modern experience of white-educated Indians, bitterly aware that their culture is threatened with destruction, trying to bear witness through a non-Indian genre: the short story.

Date Added: 10/30/2018


Bad Indians

by Deborah Miranda

This beautiful and devastating book—part tribal history, part lyric and intimate memoir—should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present.

Deborah A. Miranda tells stories of her Ohlone Costanoan Esselen family as well as the experience of California Indians as a whole through oral histories, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, personal reflections, and poems.

The result is a work of literary art that is wise, angry, and playful all at once, a compilation that will break your heart and teach you to see the world anew.

Date Added: 11/12/2019


From The Hilltop

by Toni Jensen

For the characters we meet in Toni Jensen's stories, the past is very much the present. Theirs are American Indian lives off the reservation, lives lived beyond the usual boundaries set for American Indian characters: migratory, often overlooked, yet carrying tradition with them into a future of difference and possibility.

Drawing on American Indian oral traditions and her own Mätis upbringing, Jensen tells stories that mix many lives and voices to offer fleeting perspectives on a world that reconfigures the tragedy and disconnection often found in narratives of American Indian life. A brother falls off the roof of an abandoned hotel, a young bride tries to connect with a family she's never met, and an adopted teenage girl seeks acceptance where she is viewed as an outsider. The reader also encounters a kidnapped nephew, strangers in a hotel, and even a stray dog: these are the souls that populate Jensen's stories, finding tentative connections with the past, the future, one another, and finally us.

Date Added: 04/08/2020


Cheyenne Madonna

by Eddie Chuculate

One stormy night in 1826, just north of Galveston Bay, Old Bull, a Cheyenne Indian who had just seen the ocean for the first time, found himself trying to outrace a hurricane. Lifted from his horse, spun around, and thrown down in the bayou, Old Bull rode the current into a small canyon, and survived. He was the only one of his party to return from the expedition, arriving home nearly naked, nearly hallucinating, riding a horse.

Such is the auspicious beginning to the life of Jordan Coolwater, a distant relation to Old Bull, whom we meet as a boy in the 1970s, shooting turtles on a summer day, and being raised by his grandparents on Creek Indian land in the house of his great-great-grandfather, a survivor of the "Trail of Tears." Bearing the burden of his ancestry, Jordan Coolwater--from bored young boy, to thoughtful teenager, struggling artist, escaped convict, and finally, father--is the subject of Eddie Chuculate's prize-winning collection of linked short stories. The first story in the collection, "Galveston Bay, 1826," won an O'Henry Prize in 2007, and the second, "Yo Yo," received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention.

Reminiscent of Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son, Chuculate's gritty, deceptively simple stories also recall Junot Dias and Sherman Alexie. This is not only a portrait of a young Native American artist struggling with the two constants in his life, alcohol and art, but also a portrait of America, of its dispossessed, its outlaws, and its visionaries.

Date Added: 01/28/2020


Robopocalypse

by Daniel H. Wilson

In this terrifying tale of humanity’s desperate stand against a robot uprising, Daniel H. Wilson has written the most entertaining sci-fi thriller in years. Not far into our future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. Controlled by a childlike—yet massively powerful—artificial intelligence known as Archos, the global network of machines on which our world has grown dependent suddenly becomes an implacable, deadly foe. At Zero Hour—the moment the robots attack—the human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back. This is the oral history of that conflict, told by an international cast of survivors who experienced this long and bloody confrontation with the machines. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly detailed, Robopocalypse is an action-packed epic with chilling implications about the real technology that surrounds us.

Date Added: 01/28/2020


The Road Back to Sweetgrass

by Linda Legarde Grover

Set in northern Minnesota, The Road Back to Sweetgrass follows Dale Ann, Theresa, and Margie, a trio of American Indian women, from the 1970s to the present, observing their coming of age and the intersection of their lives as they navigate love, economic hardship, loss, and changing family dynamics on the fictional Mozhay Point reservation. As young women, all three leave their homes. Margie and Theresa go to Duluth for college and work; there Theresa gets to know a handsome Indian boy, Michael Washington, who invites her home to the Sweetgrass land allotment to meet his father, Zho Wash, who lives in the original allotment cabin. When Margie accompanies her, complicated relationships are set into motion, and tensions over "real Indian-ness" emerge.

Dale Ann, Margie, and Theresa find themselves pulled back again and again to the Sweetgrass allotment, a silent but ever-present entity in the book; sweetgrass itself is a plant used in the Ojibwe ceremonial odissimaa bag, containing a newborn baby's umbilical cord. In a powerful final chapter, Zho Wash tells the story of the first days of the allotment, when the Wazhushkag, or Muskrat, family became transformed into the Washingtons by the pen of a federal Indian agent. This sense of place and home is both tangible and spiritual, and Linda LeGarde Grover skillfully connects it with the experience of Native women who came of age during the days of the federal termination policy and the struggle for tribal self-determination.

The Road Back to Sweetgrass is a novel that that moves between past and present, the Native and the non-Native, history and myth, and tradition and survival, as the people of Mozhay Point navigate traumatic historical events and federal Indian policies while looking ahead to future generations and the continuation of the Anishinaabe people.

Date Added: 01/28/2020


Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine. Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive. Welcome to the Sixth World.

Date Added: 01/28/2020


Cherokee America

by Margaret Verble

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud’s Line, an epic novel that follows a web of complex family alliances and culture clashes in the Cherokee Nation during the aftermath of the Civil War, and the unforgettable woman at its center.It’s the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a preacher have all gone missing. Cherokee America Singer, known as “Check,” a wealthy farmer, mother of five boys, and soon-to-be widow, is not amused. In this epic of the American frontier, several plots intertwine around the heroic and resolute Check: her son is caught in a compromising position that results in murder; a neighbor disappears; another man is killed. The tension mounts and the violence escalates as Check’s mixed race family, friends, and neighbors come together to protect their community—and painfully expel one of their own.Cherokee America vividly, and often with humor, explores the bonds—of blood and place, of buried histories and half-told tales, of past grief and present injury—that connect a colorful, eclectic cast of characters, anchored by the clever, determined, and unforgettable Check.

Date Added: 01/28/2020


Ceremony

by Larry Mcmurtry and Leslie Marmon Silko

The great Native American Novel of a battered veteran returning home to heal his mind and spirit

More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

by Dee Brown

Dee Brown's powerful and unforgettable classic that awakened the world to the nineteenth-century decimation of American Indian tribes

First published in 1970, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee generated shockwaves with its frank and heartbreaking depiction of the systematic annihilation of American Indian tribes across the western frontier.

In this nonfiction account, Dee Brown focuses on the betrayals, battles, and massacres suffered by American Indians between 1860 and 1890. He tells of the many tribes and their renowned chiefs--from Geronimo to Red Cloud, Sitting Bull to Crazy Horse--who struggled to combat the destruction of their people and culture.

Forcefully written and meticulously researched, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee inspired a generation to take a second look at how the West was won. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dee Brown including rare photos from the author's personal collection.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


The Plague of Doves

by Louise Erdrich

The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation. Part Ojibwe, part white, Evelina Harp is an ambitious young girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


The Deaths of Sybil Bolton

by Dennis Mcauliffe Jr.

Dennis McAuliffe Jr., a journalist, grew up believing that his Osage Indian grandmother, Sybil Bolton, had died an early death in 1925 from kidney disease. But sixty-six years later, he learns by chance that the cause was a gunshot wound. Investigating the circumstances, he soon finds himself peeling away the layers of a suppressed nightmare chapter of American history: the unspeakable brutality of the "Osage Reign of Terror." He learns that Sybil was the victim not of random violence but of a systematic killing spree in the 1920s, carried out by white residents of Oklahoma against the oil-rich Osage Nation. White men descended upon the reservation, courting, marrying—and murdering—Osage women to gain control over their money. McAuliffe is forced to suspect that his own grandfather engineered Sybil's murder.

The book uncovers the full extent of the crimes committed against the Osages: how white lawyers appointed by Congress to protect the Osages systematically swindled the tribe; how a ring of prominent and envious whites poisoned or shot possibly hundreds of Osages to seize their oil wealth—and then papered over the Reign of Terror with doctored death certificates; and how solving the mystery of his grandmother's death led McAuliffe to confront the mysteries of his own life. Part murder mystery, part family memoir, part spiritual journey, The Deaths of Sybil Bolton reintroduces us to a people whose story has been literally torn from the volumes of our nation's history.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


Red Earth, White Lies

by Vine Deloria Jr.

Deloria (history, law, religious studies, political science, U. of Colorado-Boulder), author of the best-selling "Custer Died For Your Sins", examines modern science as it relates to Native American oral history and exposes the myth of scientific fact, defending Indian accounts of natural history and population movement. He demonstrates how scientists manipulate data to fit their theories and documents traditional knowledge of Indian tribes in areas such as evolution, planetary history, the origin of humans, and natural disasters.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


"All the Real Indians Died Off"

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Unpacks the twenty-one most common myths and misconceptions about Native AmericansIn this enlightening book, scholars and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker tackle a wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations. Tracing how these ideas evolved, and drawing from history, the authors disrupt long-held and enduring myths such as:

"Columbus Discovered America" "Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed Pilgrims" "Indians Were Savage and Warlike" "Europeans Brought Civilization to Backward Indians" "The United States Did Not Have a Policy of Genocide" "Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans" "Most Indians Are on Government Welfare" "Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich" "Indians Are Naturally Predisposed to Alcohol"

Each chapter deftly shows how these myths are rooted in the fears and prejudice of European settlers and in the larger political agendas of a settler state aimed at acquiring Indigenous land and tied to narratives of erasure and disappearance. Accessibly written and revelatory, "All the Real Indians Died Off" challenges readers to rethink what they have been taught about Native Americans and history.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


The American Indian Mind in a Linear World

by Donald Fixico

This book presents an ethnohistorical examination of American Indian thinking and philosophy and strives to explain the complexity of the American Indian mind in its traditional cultural and natural environment and in contrast to the American mainstream linear world. It is argued that Indian thinking is visual; circular; concerned with the relationships among all things, including both human and nonhuman entities; embedded in both the physical and metaphysical realities; and focused on achieving balance, both within oneself and in the community. Chapter 1 details this world view. Other chapters discuss: (2) the importance of story and oral tradition as the basis of traditional knowledge; (3) circular philosophy, the significance of the circle of life and its cycles, and the"natural democracy" of respect involving all things in the universe; (4) Indian intellectualism and the nature of Indian genius; (5) boarding school experiences, conflicts between White teachers and Indian students, and the resilience of the Native intellect; (6) origin and history of American Indian studies, the need for it, and how it is striving to become an academic discipline; (7) Native scholarship, cultural ownership, and research protocols in Indian communities; (8) Indian-institutional relationships and the development of tribal colleges and museums; and (9) the center of the circle of life, balance, and well-being. (Contains references in notes, an index, and an extensive bibliography) (SV)

Date Added: 10/22/2021


Wisdom Keeper

by Nina Simons and Ilarion Merculieff

Ilarion Merculieff weaves the remarkable strands of his life and culture into a fascinating account that begins with his traditional Unangan (Aleut) upbringing on a remote island in the Bering Sea, through his immersion in both the Russian Orthodox Church and his tribe's holistic spiritual beliefs. He recounts his developing consciousness and call to leadership, and describes his work of the past thirty years bringing together Western science and Indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge and wisdom to address the most pressing issues of our time.

Tracing the extraordinary history of his ancestors--who mummified their dead in a way very similar to the Egyptians, constructed one of the most sophisticated high seas kayaks in the world, and densely populated shorelines in North America for ten thousand years--Merculieff describes the rich traditions of spirituality, art, dance, music, storytelling, science, and technology that enabled them to survive their harsh conditions. The Unangan people of the Aleutian Islands endured slavery at the hands of the U.S. government and were placed in an internment camp during WWII, where they suffered malnutrition and disease that decimated 10 percent of their population. Merculieff movingly describes how the compassion of Indigenous Elders has guided him in his work and life, which has been rife with struggle and hardship. He explains that environmental degradation, the extinction of species, pollution, war, and failing public institutions are all reflections of our relationships with ourselves. In order to deal with these critical challenges, he argues, we must reenter the chaos of the natural world, rediscover our balance of the masculine and the sacred feminine, and heal ourselves. Then, perhaps, we can heal the world.

Date Added: 10/22/2021


The Night Watchman

by Louise Erdrich

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

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. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”?

Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby.

Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.

In the Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires and ambitions of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from this revered cultural treasure.

A New York Times Bestseller

Date Added: 10/22/2021



Showing 1 through 25 of 32 results