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National Native American Heritage Month Reads

In honor of November being National Native American Heritage month, we present some suggestions of novels and autobiographies by Native American authors to help celebrate and learn about these rich ancestries and traditions.


The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich tells the story of ambitious young Evelina Harp, a part-Ojibwe, part-white girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Unaware of a violent event that marked the beginning of her mixed ancestry, she learns disturbing truths from her gifted storyteller grandfather.

housedawncover.jpgHouse Made of Dawn by N Scott Momaday is the story of a young Native American, Abel who has come home from a foreign war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father's, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world, modern, industrial America, pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, claiming his soul, goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of dissipation and disgust. And the young man, torn in two, descends into hell.

When a fellow officer is killed while searching the vehicle of a Native American, deputy sheriff Jimmy Doe discovers that the killer is targeting another victim, prompting Doe to launch an investigative road trip across Texas. Thus begins the book All the Beautiful Sinners by Stephen Graham Jones, an intensely plotted book that will leave you unable to set the book down.

Tom King's Truth and Bright Water tells the story of the lives of the inhabitants of two towns, Truth and Bright Water, separated by a river running between Montana and an Ottawa Indian reservation. The two towns intertwine over the course of a summer as seen through the eyes of two young boys.


Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling is a love-crossed saga about a young woman coming of age under perilous circumstances, and about the consequences of her often contradictory desires. In this breathtaking tale of the American West, a tragic love story unfolds against a classic clash of cultures.


Susan Power's Roofwalker is a collection of short stories features such subjects as a Sioux spirit travelling the night sky in search of good dreams, a Sioux elder's hope to return to her prairie home, and a Harvard student's reevaluation of the learning process.


Where White Men Fear to Tread is the autobiography of controversial Native American Leader Russell Means. In the book, Means describes his efforts in pursuit of Native American self-determination, from a seventy-one-day takeover of Wounded Knee to running for President in 1988.

Lakota Woman by Mary Brave Bird is a unique document, unparalleled in American Indian literature, a story of death, of determination against all odds, of the cruelties perpetuated against American Indians, and of the Native American struggle for rights. Working with Richard Erdoes, one of the twentieth century's leading writers on Native American affairs, Brave Bird recounts her difficult upbringing and the path of her fascinating life.

In Code Talker, author Chester Nez (the last surviving member of the original twenty-nine code talkers) discusses his life growing up in the Checkerboard Area of the Navajo reservation, and shares the story of how he helped the United States develop and implement a secret military language based on his native language during World War II that became the only unbroken code in modern warfare.

The annotations above came from both our own library catalog and NoveList.

Tim @ Central

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