November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to recognize the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. To honor and celebrate their legacy, we’ve put together this list of unforgettable books by and about Native Americans.

Click for More Books That Celebrate Native American Heritage Month.


Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens

The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States.

Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh’s life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award-winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader–admired by the same white Americans he opposed–it was Tenskwatawa, called the “Shawnee Prophet,” who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.

Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, Audio, and Large Print Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Dog Flowers: A Memoir by Danielle Geller

A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to confront her family’s troubled history and retrace her mother’s life—using both narrative and archive in this unforgettable and heart-wrenching memoir.

After Danielle Geller’s mother dies of a withdrawal from alcohol during a period of homelessness, she is forced to return to Florida. Using her training as a librarian and archivist, Geller collects her mother’s documents, diaries, and photographs into a single suitcase and begins on a journey of confronting her family’s history and the decisions she’s been forced to make, a journey that will end at her mother’s home: the Navajo reservation.

Geller masterfully intertwines wrenching prose with archival documents to create a deeply moving narrative of loss and inheritance that pays homage to our pasts, traditions, heritage, the family we are given, and the family we choose.

Coming January 2021 in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Watch Danielle Gellar Talk About Dog Flowers.


Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen

A powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an Indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author’s encounters with gun violence.

Toni Jensen grew up around guns: As a girl, she learned to shoot birds in rural Iowa with her father, a card-carrying member of the NRA. As an adult, she’s had guns waved in her face near Standing Rock, and felt their silent threat on the concealed-carry campus where she teaches. And she has always known that in this she is not alone. As a Métis woman, she is no stranger to the violence enacted on the bodies of Indigenous women, on Indigenous land, and the ways it is hidden, ignored, forgotten.

In Carry, Jensen maps her personal experience onto the historical, exploring how history is lived in the body and redefining the language we use to speak about violence in America.

In prose at once forensic and deeply emotional, Toni Jensen shows herself to be a brave new voice and a fearless witness to her own difficult history—as well as to the violent cultural landscape in which she finds her coordinates. With each chapter, Carry reminds us that surviving in one’s country is not the same as surviving one’s country.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss

A powerful work of visual nonfiction about three generations of an Apache family struggling to protect sacred land from a multinational mining corporation, by MacArthur “Genius” and National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss, the acclaimed author of Thunder & Lightning.

Oak Flat is a serene high-elevation mesa that sits above the southeastern Arizona desert, fifteen miles to the west of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. For the San Carlos tribe, Oak Flat is a holy place, an ancient burial ground and religious site where Apache girls celebrate the coming-of-age ritual known as the Sunrise Ceremony. In 1995, a massive untapped copper reserve was discovered nearby. A decade later, a law was passed transferring the area to a private company, whose planned copper mine will wipe Oak Flat off the map—sending its natural springs, petroglyph-covered rocks, and old-growth trees tumbling into a void.

Redniss’s deep reporting and haunting artwork anchor this mesmerizing human narrative. The book follows the fortunes of two families with profound connections to the contested site: the Nosies, an Apache family whose teenage daughter is an activist and leader in the Oak Flat fight, and the Gorhams, a mining family whose patriarch was a sheriff in the lawless early days of Arizona statehood.

The still-unresolved Oak Flat conflict is ripped from today’s headlines, but its story resonates with foundational American themes: the saga of westward expansion, the resistance and resilience of Native peoples, and the efforts of profiteers to control the land and unearth treasure beneath it while the lives of individuals hang in the balance.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paolini; Illustrated by Thibault Balahy

Experience the riveting, powerful story of the Native American civil rights movement and the resulting struggle for identity told through the high-flying career of West Coast rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Redbone.

Brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas were talented Native American rock musicians that took the 1960s Sunset Strip by storm. They influenced The Doors and jammed with Jimmy Hendrix before he was “Jimi,” and the idea of a band made up of all Native Americans soon followed. Determined to control their creative vision and maintain their cultural identity, they eventually signed a deal with Epic Records in 1969. But as the American Indian Movement gained momentum the band took a stand, choosing pride in their ancestry over continued commercial reward.

Created in cooperation of the Vegas family, authors Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni with artist Thibault Balahy take painstaking steps to ensure the historical accuracy of this important and often overlooked story of America’s past. Part biography and part research journalism, Redbone provides a voice to a people long neglected in American history.

Available in Trade Paperback.

Click to Watch a Conversation with Redbone’s Pat Vegas and His Daughter, Frankie Vegas.


The Martyrdom of Collins Catch the Bear by Gerry Spence

The search for justice for a Lakota Sioux man wrongfully charged with murder, told here for the first time by his trial lawyer, Gerry Spence.

This is the untold story of Collins Catch the Bear, a Lakota Sioux, who was wrongfully charged with the murder of a white man in 1982 at Russell Means’s Yellow Thunder Camp, an AIM encampment in the Black Hills in South Dakota. Though Collins was innocent, he took the fall for the actual killer, a man placed in the camp with the intention of compromising the reputation of AIM. This story reveals the struggle of the American Indian people in their attempt to survive in a white world, on land that was stolen from them. We live with Collins and see the beauty that was his, but that was lost over the course of his short lifetime. Today justice still struggles to be heard, not only in this case but many like it in the American Indian nations.

Available in Trade Paperback and eBook Editions.


A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

“In her raw, unflinching memoir . . . she tells the impassioned, wrenching story of the mental health crisis within her own family and community . . . A searing cry.” —The New York Times Book Review

The Mohawk phrase for depression can be roughly translated to “a mind spread out on the ground.” In this urgent and visceral work, Alicia Elliott explores how apt a description that is for the ongoing effects of personal, intergenerational, and colonial traumas she and so many Native people have experienced.

Elliott’s deeply personal writing details a life spent between Indigenous and white communities, a divide reflected in her own family, and engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, art, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, and representation. Throughout, she makes thrilling connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political.

Available in Trade Paperback and eBook Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.


For Young Readers (and Listeners):

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism.

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.

Available in Trade Paperback and eBook Editions.


A Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse; Read by Kinsale Hueston

Bestselling author Rick Riordan welcomes indigenous fantasy writer Rebecca Roanhorse to his imprint with this thrilling adventure about a Navajo girl who discovers she’s a monsterslayer.

Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission, which can only be done with the help of Navajo gods, all disguised as quirky “rez” personalities. After a series of dangerous—a and mind-bending—trials, Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery finally reach the sun god, who outfits them with the weapons they need to take down Mr. Charles and the ancient monsters he has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .

Available in Audio.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.

Click for a Q & A with Kinsale Hueston, narrator of Race to the Sun from Rick Riordan Presents!


 

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