Lists and Suggestions
List: Celebrating Native American Voices
The Night Watchman
Erdrich, Louise, author.
It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Moun... More
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. Less
Weiden, David Heska Wanbli, 1963- author.
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When ... More
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that's hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil's nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop. They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost. Less
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
Treuer, David, author.
"The received idea of Native American history has been that it essentially ended with the 1890... More
"The received idea of Native American history has been that it essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee: Not only did more than 150 Sioux die at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life for his nonfiction and his novels, David Treuer began to uncover a different narrative. Not despite but rather because of American Indians' intense struggles to preserve their tribes, their cultures, and their very existence, the true story has been one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention. In [this book], Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir to explore 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. The forced assimilation of children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and at the same time steered the emerging shape of self-rule and inspired a new generation of resistance. [This] is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative epoch."-- Less
Ford, Kelli Jo, author.
"It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a ... More
"It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women, presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine's father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church-a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But she does her best as a devoted daughter, until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever. Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine-a mixed-blood Cherokee woman-and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world-of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces like wildfires and tornadoes-intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home. In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn women sacrifice for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel-in-stories of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent"-- Less
Where the Dead Sit Talking
Hobson, Brandon, author.
"A spare, lyrical Native American coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s.... More
"A spare, lyrical Native American coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s. With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his unstable upbringing, Sequoyah has spent years mostly keeping to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface--that is, until he meets the seventeen-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts. Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American backgrounds and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah's feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both"-- Less
Verble, Margaret, author.
"From the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud's Line, an epic novel that follows a... More
"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"-- Less
The Only Good Indians
Jones, Stephen Graham, 1972- author.
"Peter Straub's Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies in this American ... More
"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"-- Less
Orange, Tommy, 1982- author.
Twelve Native Americans came to the Big Oakland Powwow for different reasons. Jacquie Red Feather i... More
Twelve Native Americans came to the Big Oakland Powwow for different reasons. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. 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 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. Tommy Orange delivers a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. 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. Less
This Town Sleeps
Staples, Dennis E., author.
"Set on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, This Town Sleeps is the story of Marion L... More
"Set on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, This Town Sleeps is the story of Marion Lafournier, a gay Ojibwe man, and his search for meaning in a town he cannot seem to leave. When he begins a romance with a closeted former high school classmate Shannon, Marion finds himself struggling to connect with the volcanic and unstable man. One night, while roaming the dark streets of Geshig, Marion unknowingly brings to life a dog from underneath the elementary school playground. The mysterious revenant leads him to the grave of Kayden Kelliher, an Ojibwe basketball star who was murdered at the young age of seventeen, and whose presence still lingers in the memories of the townsfolk. While investigating the fallen hero's death, Marion discovers family connections and an old Ojibwe legend that may be the secret to unraveling the mystery he has found himself in." -- Less
Trail of Lightning
Roanhorse, Rebecca, author.
"While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse,... More
"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." -- Less
Murder on the Red River
Rendon, Marcie R., author.
"Cash and Sheriff Wheaton make for a strange partnership. He pulled her from her mother's... More
"Cash and Sheriff Wheaton make for a strange partnership. He pulled her from her mother's wrecked car when she was three. He's kept an eye out for her ever since. It's a tough place to live-northern Minnesota along the Red River. Cash navigated through foster homes, and at thirteen was working farms. She's tough as nails-five feet two inches, blue jeans, blue jean jacket, smokes Marlboros, drinks Bud Longnecks. Makes her living driving truck. Playing pool on the side. Wheaton is big lawman type. Scandinavian stock, but darker skin than most. He wants her to take hold of her life. Get into Junior College. So there they are, staring at the dead Indian lying in the field. Soon Cash was dreaming the dead man's cheap house on the Red Lake Reservation, mother and kids waiting. She has that kind of power. That's the place to start looking. There's a long and dangerous way to go to find the men who killed him. Plus there's Jim, the married white guy. And Longbraids, the Indian guy headed for Minneapolis to join the American Indian Movement. Marcie R. Rendon is an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation. She is a mother, grandmother, writer, and performance artist. A recipient of the Loft's Inroads Writers of Color Award for Native Americans, she studied under Anishinabe author Jim Northrup. Her first children's book is Pow Wow Summer (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2014). Murder on the Red River is her debut novel"-- Less
Howe, LeAnne, author.
May 1875: Mary Todd Lincoln is addicted to opiates and tried in a Chicago court on charges of insan... More
May 1875: Mary Todd Lincoln is addicted to opiates and tried in a Chicago court on charges of insanity. Entered into evidence is Ms. Lincoln's claim that every night a Savage Indian enters her bedroom and slashes her face and scalp. She is swiftly committed to Bellevue Place Sanitarium. Her hauntings may be a reminder that in 1862, President Lincoln ordered the hanging of thirty-eight Dakotas in the largest mass execution in United States history. No one has ever linked the two events--until now. Savage Conversations is a daring account of a former first lady and the ghosts that tormented her for the contradictions and crimes on which this nation is founded. Less
Heart Berries: A Memoir
Mailhot, Terese Marie, author.
"Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Isl... More
"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."-- Less
The Heartsong of Charging Elk
Welch, James, 1940-2003.
"Inspired by actual historical fact, James Welch's The Heartsong of Charging Elk tells th... More
"Inspired by actual historical fact, James Welch's The Heartsong of Charging Elk tells the story of an Oglala Sioux who travels the extraordinary geographical and cultural distance from tribal life in the Black Hills of South Dakota to existence on the streets of Marseille. As a young boy, Charging Elk witnessed his people's massacre of Custer's Seventh Cavalry at Little Big Horn, followed by years of futile fighting and wandering until the Sioux were finally lured to the Pine Ridge reservation. But he prefers life in the Stronghold, living by his wits and skills in the old way. Ironically, it is Charging Elk's horsemanship and independent air that cause Buffalo Bill to recruit him for his Wild West Show, which travels across "the big water" to create a sensation in the capitals of Europe. Charging Elk and his Sioux companions are living a life touched by fame and marked by previously unthinkable experiences--until he falls ill in Marseille and, through a bureaucratic mix-up, is left behind in a hospital while the show travels on. Scared, disoriented, Charging Elk escapes--only to fall into a series of events, including a love affair with a prostitute and a shocking murder, that will change his life utterly beyond his imagination"-- Less
Riding the Trail of Tears
Hausman, Blake M. (Blake Michael)
"A surrealistic revisiting of the Cherokee Removal, Riding the Trail of Tears takes us to nort... More
"A surrealistic revisiting of the Cherokee Removal, Riding the Trail of Tears takes us to north Georgia in the near future, into a virtual-reality tourist compound where customers ride the Trail of Tears, and into the world of Tallulah Wilson, a Cherokee woman who works there."--p.  of cover. Less
People of the Whale
Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But ... More
Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind. Less
Stone Heart is a gripping retelling of the story of American legend Sacajawea, the young Shoshoni w... More
Stone Heart is a gripping retelling of the story of American legend Sacajawea, the young Shoshoni woman who traveled with Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the West. Presented in Sacajawea's own voice juxtaposed with excerpts from Lewis and Clark's diaries, it is a work of moving and illuminating fiction cast from a famed piece of history that has long been masked by myth. Lewis and Clark recorded the external journey, its physical challenges and wonders. Glancy's Sacajawea experiences the expedition on a different plane, one that lies between the terrestrial and the magical, where clouds speak and ghost horses roam the plains. Both stunningly imagined and meticulously faithful to events, Stone Heart draws a lingering portrait of a woman of resilience and courage. Less
The Grass Dancer
Power, Susan, 1961-
A multi-generational saga of the Sioux Indians, mixing magic and reality. Set in the Dakotas, it be... More
A multi-generational saga of the Sioux Indians, mixing magic and reality. Set in the Dakotas, it begins in the 1860s with the tragic romance of Ghost Horse, a sacred clown, and Red Dress, a woman warrior, whose spirits seek desperately to be reunited. Less
Earling, Debra Magpie.
"In the 1940s on the Flathead Indian Reservation, a reckless and stubborn young girl sets her ... More
"In the 1940s on the Flathead Indian Reservation, a reckless and stubborn young girl sets her life down a desperate path. Louise White Elk dreams of both belonging and escape, of discovering love and freedom on her own terms. But she is a red-haired, tough and beautiful temptation, and at least three men, each more dangerous than the other, want to control and possess her; Police Officer Charlie Kicking Woman, who struggles between worlds; charismatic but scary Baptiste, who refuses to yield to anyone; and Harvey Stoner, who owns nearly everything."-- Less
Even as We Breathe
Clapsaddle, Annette Saunooke, author.
"Nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah yearns to escape his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, ... More
"Nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah yearns to escape his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. When a summer job at Asheville's luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort brings him one step closer to escaping the hills that both cradle and suffocate him, he sees it as an opportunity. With World War II raging in Europe, the inn is the temporary home of Axis diplomats and their families, who are being held as prisoners of war. Soon, Cowney's refuge becomes a cage when the daughter of one of the residents goes missing and he finds himself accused of abduction and murder. Even As We Breathe invokes the elements of bone, blood, and flesh as Cowney navigates difficult social, cultural, and ethnic divides. After leaving the seclusion of the Cherokee reservation, he is able to explore a future free from the consequences of his family's choices and to construct a new worldview, for a time. However, prejudice and persecution in the white world of the resort eventually compel Cowney to free himself from larger forces that hold him back as he struggles to unearth evidence of his innocence and clear his name"-- Less