Memorial Hall Library

Indigenous People's Day

This year, Indigenous People's Day is observed on October 9, 2017. This is a day, first observed in 1992, to celebrate Native Americans and their history and culture. In that spirit, here are some great books for all ages by indigenous authors and artists. Thanks to Debbie Reese's booklists at American Indians in Children's Literature for many of these suggestions. We also used the list of American Indian Youth Literature Award winners and School Library Journal's 100 Books by Indigenous Masters, and we encourage readers interested in indigenous authors to check out those sources for even more great books!

Books for Children

My heart fills with happiness
My heart fills with happiness
by Monique Gray Smith
 
A board book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy. The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? 
We sang you home
We sang you home
by Richard Van Camp

This celebration of the bond between parent and child captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome their new baby.

	Sweetest Kulu
Sweetest Kulu
by Celina Kalluk

An Inuit mother sings to her Kulu--or baby--about animals and other elements in their Arctic world and the gifts they bring to the child, from the summer sun's warm light to Arctic hare's love, muskox's power, and caribou's patience.

	When we were alone
When we were alone
by David Robertson

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother's garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, oneof empowerment and strength.

	My father is taller than a tree
My father is taller than a tree
by Joseph Bruchac

A tribute to the relationship between fathers and their boys profiles 13 diverse father-and-son pairs, offering insight into their cultural backgrounds and the universal qualities of their shared bonds.

	Kamik joins the pack
Kamik joins the pack
by Darryl Baker

Jake brings his puppy Kamik to meet his uncle, who is a dog sled racer, with the hope that Kamik is good enough to join the sled dog team.

	In the footsteps of Crazy Horse
In the footsteps of Crazy Horse
by Joseph Marshall

A mixed-race Lakota youth learns about his Native American heritage through the story of Crazy Horse, in an account that draws on oral traditions to recount his heroic advocacy of his people and how he lead a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

	How I became a ghost : a Choctaw Trail of Tears story
How I became a ghost : a Choctaw Trail of Tears story
by Tim Tingle

Isaac, a Choctaw boy, tells of his tribe's removal from its homeland and how the exodus led him to become a ghost--one able to help those left behind.

	Makoons
Makoons
by Louise Erdrich

Living with their Ojibwe family on the Great Plains of Dakota Territory in 1866, twin brothers Makoons and Chickadee must learn to become buffalo hunters, but Makoons has a vision that foretells great challenges that his family may not be able to overcome.

	Trickster : Native American tales : a graphic collection
Trickster : Native American tales : a graphic collection
by Matt Dembicki

Collects twenty-one short stories in graphic novel format of tricksters from a variety of Native American traditions.
 

Books for Teens & Adults


	If I ever get out of here : a novel with paintings
If I ever get out of here : a novel with paintings
by Eric L. Gansworth

Seventh-grader Lewis "Shoe" Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and Whites—and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.

	Killer of enemies
Killer of enemies
by Joseph Bruchac

Years ago, seventeen year old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones (people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human) and there was everyone else who served the Ones.
Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones' pets - genetically engineered monsters - turned on them and are now loose on the world.  With every monster she takes down, Lozen's powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun... Lozen is meant to be a hero.

	Dreaming in Indian : contemporary Native American voices
Dreaming in Indian : contemporary Native American voices
by Lisa Charleyboy


Anthology of art and writings from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today. Whether addressing the effects of residential schools, calling out bullies through personal manifestos, or simply citing hopes for the future, Dreaming In Indian refuses to shy away from difficult topics.

	The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Leaving the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school, Junior struggles to find his place in his new surroundings in order to escape his destiny back on the reservation.

	Feral nights
Feral nights
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Tracking his sister to Austin only to discover that she is a key suspect in a murder case, free-spirited werecat Yoshi embarks on a personal search for answers, while werepossum Clyde and human Aimee pursue their own investigation in an effort to avenge the brutal killing of werearmadillo friend Travis.

	Ceremony
Ceremony
by Leslie Marmon Silko

On a New Mexico reservation, one Navajo family--including Tayo, a World War II veteran deeply scarred by his experiences as a Japanese POW and by the rejection of his own people--struggles to survive in a world no longer theirs in the years just before and after World War II. Reader's Guide available.

	House Made of Dawn
House Made of Dawn
by N. Scott Momaday

This 1969 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of a young American Indian struggling to reconcile the traditional ways of his people with the demands of the 20th century.

	Crazy brave : a memoir
Crazy brave : a memoir
by Joy Harjo

This memoir from the Native American poet and author of She Had Some Horses describes her youth with an abusive stepfather, becoming a single teen mom and how she struggled to finally find inner peace and her creative voice.

	You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
by Sherman Alexie

The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.

	Prison writings : my life is my sun dance
Prison writings : my life is my sun dance
by Leonard Peltier

Incarcerated for the last twenty-four years after a trial resulting from his actions at the Incident at Oglala, the 1960s Native American activist shares his life story, as well as philosophical views on prison and how it has affected him.