Indigenous Peoples’ Voices Fiction

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

Call# Fiction Alexie

A serial murderer called the Indian Killer is terrorizing Seattle, hunting, scalping, and slaughtering white men. Motivated by rage and seeking retribution for his people’s violent history, his grizzly MO and skillful elusiveness both paralyze the city with fear and prompt an uprising of racial brutality. Out of the chaos emerges John Smith. Born to Indians but raised by white parents, Smith yearns for his lost heritage. As his embitterment with his dual life increases, Smith falls deeper into vengeful madness and quickly surfaces as the prime suspect. Tensions mount, and while Smith battles to allay the anger that engulfs him, the Indian Killer claims another life. With acerbic wit and chilling page-turning intensity, Alexie takes an unflinching look at what nurtures rage within a race both colonized and marginalized by a society that neither values nor understands it.

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Call# Fiction Erdrich

Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher’s precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family—which includes Eva and four sons—and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New—in the person of Delphine Watzka—the great adventure of Fidelis’s life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted. She meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine’s life, and the trajectory of this brilliant novel.

The Night Watchman : a Novel by Louise Erdrich

Call# Fiction Erdrich

It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.

The Only Good Indians : a Novel by Stephen Graham Jones

Call# Horror Jones

"Peter Straub's Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends"--

Pushing the Bear : a Novel of the Trail of Tears by Diane Glancy

Call# Fiction Glancy

In a novel that “retains the complexity, immediacy, and indirection of a poem,” Glancy brings to life the Cherokees’ 900-mile forced removal to Oklahoma in 1838 and gives us “a powerful witness to one of the most shameful episodes in american history” (Los Angeles Times).

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

Call# Fiction Alexie

One day legendary bluesman Robert Johnson appears on the Spokane Indian reservation, in flight from the devil and presumed long dead. When he passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas-Builds-the-Fire—storyteller, misfit, and musician—a magical odyssey begins that will take them from reservation bars to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan. This is a fresh, luxuriantly comic tale of power, tragedy, and redemption among contemporary Native Americans.

The Round House : a Novel by Louise Erdrich

Call# Fiction Erdrich

When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

There There by Tommy Orange

Call# Fiction Orange

"Not since Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine has such a powerful and urgent Native American voice exploded onto the landscape of contemporary fiction. Tommy Orange's There There introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career. "We all came to the powwow for different reasons. The messy, dangling threads of our lives got pulled into a braid--tied to the back of everything we'd been doing all along to get us here. There will be death and playing dead, there will be screams and unbearable silences, forever-silences, and a kind of time-travel, at the moment the gunshots start, when we look around and see ourselves as we are, in our regalia, and something in our blood will recoil then boil hot enough to burn through time and place and memory. We'll go back to where we came from, when we were people running from bullets at the end of that old world. The tragedy of it all will be unspeakable, that we've been fighting for decades to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant, only to die in the grass wearing feathers." Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame in Oakland. Dene Oxedrene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work the powwow and to honor his uncle's memory. Edwin Frank has come to find his true father. Bobby Big Medicine has come to drum the Grand Entry. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather; Orvil has taught himself Indian dance through YouTube videos, and he has come to the Big Oakland Powwow to dance in public for the very first time. Tony Loneman is a young Native American boy whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Powwow with darker intentions--intentions that will destroy the lives of everyone in his path. Fierce, angry, funny, groundbreaking--Tommy Orange's first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut"--

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Call# Fantasy Roanhorse

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

The Yield : a Novel by Tara June Winch

Call# Fiction Winch

"Knowing that he will soon die, Albert 'Poppy' Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, in the fictional Australian town of Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people, the indigenous Wiradjuri tribe, and everything that was ever remembered by the ancestors. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living in Europe for ten years when she learns of her grandfather's death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with the memories of life in poverty before her mother's incarceration, her hometown's racism against her people, and the mysterious disappearance of her sister when they were kids that changed August's life forever. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends, she endeavors to save their land - a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river. Told in three masterfully woven narratives, THE YIELD is a celebration of language and an exploration of what makes somewhere "home." It is not just the story of a people and a culture dispossessed, but a joyful reminder of what was and what endures. It is a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity, offering hope for the future"--

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices Nonfiction

Blood and Thunder : an Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides

Call# 978.02 Sid

In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.

At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Call# 970.5 Bro

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown introduces readers to great chiefs and warrors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes, revealing in heartwrenching detail the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that methodically stripped them of freedom. A forceful narrative still discussed today as revelatory and controversial, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee permanently altered our understanding of how the American West came to be defined.

Heart Berries : a Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Call# 921 Mailhot

"Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father-an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist-who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world."--

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee : Native America From 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

Call# 970.004 Tre

In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

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

Call# 970.004 Dun

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. 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.

The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

Call# 921 Crazyhorse

Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought the U.S. Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow Lakota Indians, he was a dutiful son and humble fighting man who, with valor, spirit, respect, and unparalleled leadership, fought for his people’s land, livelihood, and honor. In this fascinating biography, Joseph Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portrait of the man, his times, and his legacy.

Drawing on firsthand research and his culture’s rich oral tradition (rarely shared outside the Native American community), Marshall reveals many aspects of Crazy Horse’s life, including details of the powerful vision that convinced him of his duty to help preserve the Lakota homeland, a vision that changed the course of Crazy Horse’s life and spurred him confidently into battle time and time again.

Killers of the Flower Moon : the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Call# 976.6 Gra

Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

Native Universe : Voices of Indian America

Call# 970.004 Nat

This gorgeous volume draws from the vast archives of the National Museum of the American Indian and the voices of some of the most prominent Native American scholars, writers, activists and tribal leaders. More than 300 full-color illustrations depict the artistry and culture of our hemisphere’s diverse indigenous peoples. With its insightful, firsthand prose, the book is a reminder that the ancient philosophies and folkways are just as valuable and relevant in today’s world as they were generations ago.

Trail of Tears : the Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation by John Ehle

Call# 975.004 Ehl

A sixth-generation North Carolinian, highly-acclaimed author John Ehle grew up on former Cherokee hunting grounds. His experience as an accomplished novelist, combined with his extensive, meticulous research, culminates in this moving tragedy rich with historical detail.

The Cherokee are a proud, ancient civilization. For hundreds of years they believed themselves to be the “Principle People” residing at the center of the earth. But by the 18th century, some of their leaders believed it was necessary to adapt to European ways in order to survive. Those chiefs sealed the fate of their tribes in 1875 when they signed a treaty relinquishing their land east of the Mississippi in return for promises of wealth and better land. The U.S. government used the treaty to justify the eviction of the Cherokee nation in an exodus that the Cherokee will forever remember as the “trail where they cried”. John McDonough narrates with thoughtful gravity. The heroism and nobility of the Cherokee shine through this intricate story of American politics, ambition, and greed.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me : a Memoir by Sherman Alexie

Call# 921 Alexie

A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, and loss from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award winner. When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine--growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices Young Adult

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Call# Y Alexie

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People by Debbie Reese

Call# J 970.004 Dun

"Going beyond the story of America as a country "discovered" by a few brave men in the "New World," Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity. The original academic text is fully adapted by renowned curriculum experts Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza, for middle-grade and young adult readers to include discussion topics, archival images, original maps, recommendations for further reading, and other materials to encourage students, teachers, and general readers to think critically about their own place in history"--

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Call# Y Smith

Louise Wolfe breaks up with her first boyfriend after he makes a racist remark about her Native American heritage, and begins covering the multicultural casting of the new school play and the racial hostilities it has exposed.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Call# Y Dimaline

In a world where most people have lost the ability to dream, a fifteen-year-old Indigenous boy who is still able to dream struggles for survival against an army of "recruiters" who seek to steal his marrow and return dreams to the rest of the world.

#Notyourprincess : Voices of Native American Women

Call# 305.488 Not

A collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art exhibit the voices of Indigenous women across North America.

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices DVD Recommendations

America Before Columbus

Call# DVD 970.01 Ame

When Columbus stepped ashore in 1492, millions of people were already living in America. It wasn't exactly a 'New World,' but an old one whose inhabitants had built a vast infrastructure of cities, orchards, canals, and causeways. But after Columbus set foot in the Americas, an endless wave of explorers, conquistadors, and settlers arrived, and with each of their ships came a Noah's Ark of plants, animals, and disease. Here is an exploration into the mysterious world of ancient American history.

Geronimo and the Apache Resistance

Call# DVD 921 Geronimo

Descendants of legendary Native American leader Geronimo tell the story of a half-century of war, displacement, confinement, and finally resistance that ended with the decimation of the Chiricahua Apaches and the loss of their traditional homeland in the Southwest. Geronimo is revealed as a shrewd leader, formidable fighter, and poetic shaman--dedicated to a crusade to keep his ancestral land, repeatedly defying and eluding federal authorities. When the government finally forced his surrender in 1886, the Apaches were prisoners, moved to reservations in Florida and later Oklahoma. Their homeland was never returned to them. The film tells an unpleasant story of cruelty, prejudice, and betrayal, and of a tragic collision of two civilizations, each with startlingly different views of one another.

The Great Indian Wars, 1540-1890

Call# DVD 973.049 Gre

Documents the Native American struggle against European settlers.

Indian Warriors : the Untold Story of the Civil War

Call# DVD 973.74 Ind

Discover one of the more obscure, yet fascinating aspects of the Civil War era: the contribution of thousands of Native American soldiers. With the help of respected authors Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman, this program reconstructs the stories of some of these forgotten men.

Native America

Call# DVD 970.004 Nat

Explores the world created by America's first peoples. The series reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents.

Native America : Voices From the Land .

Call# DVD 917.3 Nat

"This ... collection examines Native North American culture, past and present, and its attempts to halt assimilation and retain native cutlural traditions."--Container.

Native American Legends .

Call# DVD 970 Nat

They fought hard to protect the lands where they had lived and thrived since time immemorial. Thrill to these larger-than-life, legendary men whose very names conjure brave and ferocious warriors whose unrelenting stamina and indomitable spirit continue to inspire and awe throughout the ages. Learn of their exploits, strategies and stunning victories at the Battle of Little Big Horn and other legendary conflicts of the old west.

Reel Injun

Call# DVD 791.43 Ree

Travelling through the heartland of America, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond examines how the myth of the movie "Injun" has influenced the world's understanding - and misunderstanding - of Natives. With clips from hundreds of classic and recent films, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native directors, writers, actors and activists, including Clint Eastwood, Robbie Robertson, Sacheen Littlefeather, John Trudell, Charlie Hill and Russell Means, Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to the present day.

Trail of Tears : a Native American Documentary Collection.

Call# DVD 970.004 Tra

Trail of tears : Cherokee legacy: Documents the forced removal in 1838 of the Cherokee Nation from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma. Shows the suffering endured by the Cherokees as they lost their land and the difficult conditions they endured on the trail. Describes how thousands of Cherokees died during the Trail of Tears, nearly a quarter of the nation, including most of their children and elders.
Black Indians: Explores issues of racial identity between the mixed-descent peoples of both Native American and African American heritage. James Earl Jones is himself a Black Indian.
Native American healing in the 21st century: Learn from today's respected physicians the crossover of ancient native remedies to present-day medical practices. Explore for healing plants and herbs. Learn from tribal elders traditional healing practices and philosophies. Discover the contents of a recently found 350-year-old medicine bag. Compare the similarities of Native American and Chinese healing.
Our spirits don't speak English: Imagine you are a child, taken from your home, your family, taken from everything you know. In 1869, the U.S. government enacted a policy of educating Native American children in the ways of western society. By the late 1960's, more than 100,000 had been forced to attend Indian Boarding School.

True Whispers : the Story of the Navajo Code Talkers

Call# DVD 940.548 Tru

Explores from the Native point of view the complex story of the role that the Native American code talkers and the Navajo language played in secret communications during World War II. No cryptography system proved as effective during the war as did the use of Navajo code talkers using their tribal language to transmit military communiques. Countless American lives were saved because of the service of these brave young Native American Marines.

We Shall Remain : America Through Native Eyes

Call# DVD 970 We

They were charismatic and forward thinking, imaginative and courageous, compassionate and resolute. At times they were arrogant, vengeful and reckless. For hundreds of years, Native American leaders from Massasoit, Tecumseh, and Tenskwatawa, to Major Ridge, Geronimo, and Fools Crow valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture. Sometimes, their strategies were militaristic, but more often they used what influence they had in a diplomatic, political, legal, as well as spiritual way. Tells the history of the United States from the Native American perspective.

More Indigenous Peoples’ Voices Recommendations

Resources

  • Amnesty International has worked to defend the rights of Indigenous peoples in all regions of the world and demands that states apply and develop urgently needed laws to protect their lands, cultures and livelihoods.

  • The Center for World Indigenous Studies is an independent, Nonprofit 501 (c) 3 founded in 1979, dedicated to wider understanding and appreciation of the ideas and knowledge of indigenous peoples and the social, economic and political realities of indigenous nations.

  • The Rights and Resources Organization is a global coalition advancing the land, forest, and resource rights of Indigenous peoples, local communities, Afro-descendants, and the women within them.

  • Cultural Survival works toward a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

  • United Nations for Indigenous Peoples lists a compilation of all available guidelines, books, studies, reports, articles, training materials and documentation on indigenous peoples from the UN system and relevant entities.

  • The Zinn Education Project has lessons, books, and films for teaching the truth about Columbus and Indigenous Peoples’ history.

  • Land Reparations and Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit provides a brief guide for Resource Generation members and other folks with access to land to support in education and resource sharing around land reparations. Its resources support taking collective action towards land repatriation to Indigenous people in the ongoing struggle against colonization.

Podcasts

  • All My Relations – Photographer Matika Wilbur, who is Swinomish and Tulalip, and academic Adrienne Keene, from the Cherokee Nation, discuss what it means to be Indigenous in 2019, from the POV of two American Indigenous feminists.

  • Media Indigena – A weekly Indigenous current affairs podcast. Their website also features Aboriginal news, views and creative expression.

  • Métis in Space – Chelsea Vowel and Molly Swain, both Métis, drink a bottle of wine and review sci fi movies and television shows from a critical Indigenous lens.

  • Molly of Denali – Molly, a 10-year-old Alaska Native, and her friend Tooey go on adventures in Alaska. You don’t have to be a kid to listen to this podcast that is also made by people of PBS shows such as Arthur and Curious George. This is an all Indigenous cast voiced by Indigenous actors.