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November 1, 2020 | Library Staff

It’s Native American Heritage Month!

November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, or commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month! First introduced in 1990 as a congressional resolution, signed by then President George H. W. Bush, it commemorates the month to acknowledge and celebrate the United States of America’s Indigenous peoples–there are 574 federally recognized nations in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Did you know that our library is built on Euchee (Yuchi, Uchee, Tsoyaha) and Osage traditional lands? McCracken County also extends into Chickasaw traditional territory. Click here to learn more about Indigenous lands and their languages. 

One of the ways you can honor our Indigenous siblings is to tune into the struggles they face today in their communities. For example, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many reservations have been hit hard with COVID-19, experiencing some of the worst mortality rates in the country in their communities, mostly likely due to years of federal under-funding. There are many relief funds online for various Native Nations accepting donations that go towards healthcare and other mutual aid to those affected by COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.

They also are continuously fighting for ownership of sacred lands, from the building of the Keystone Pipeline on Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota territories, and more recently the Dakota Access Pipeline across Standing Rock Sioux land. Not only do these pipelines affect access and destroy sacred land to these Nations, they pose environmental threats that negatively affect nearby Native communities and wildlife, including oil spills.

Consider visiting Resource Generation’s Land Reparations & Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit, packed with important information, from the history of colonization and how it has significantly damaged Indigenous communities for hundreds of years across the world, to ways you can contribute to Native communities who have lost sacred lands to colonization.

Make a conscious choice to seek out Indigenous voices, by reading a title written by a member of the American Indian or Alaska Native community. Click a title below to place a hold on a physical copy, check out a digital copy, or both!

Adult Titles

Apple by Eric Gansworth

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerers

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble 

Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford 

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid To Ask by Anton Treuer

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

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

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Love After The End : An Anthology Of Two-Spirit & Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction by Joshua Whitehead

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

There, There by Tommy Orange

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples — Join us on Zoom for Virtual Rainbow Book Club, November 26th at 6 PM, for a discussion on this title! 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King

Where the Lines Bleed by Jesmyn Ward 

YA Titles

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

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger 

If I Ever Get Out Of Here by Eric Gansworth

The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline 

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Mary Beth Leatherdale

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Trickster: Native American Tales by Matt Dembicki

Juvenile Titles

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

A Boy Named Beckoning by Gina Capaldi

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost

Do all Indians live in tipis? : questions and answers from the National Museum of the American Indian

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by by Robbie Robertson

How I Became A Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears story by Tim Tingle

I Am Sacagawea by Grace Norwich

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day 

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

What The Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn

Early Titles 

Blueberry Patch / Meennunyakaa by Jennifer Leason

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child

Buffalo Bird Girl by S. D. Nelson

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok 

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse

My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

Sweet Kulu by Celina Kulluk

The Train by Jodie Callaghan

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom 

When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith

At the library, we also have some documentaries you can check out, covering history and current events in Native America.  

Enjoy some tunes from Indigenous musicians:

November may be a month that officially commemorates our Indigenous communities—but take time every month to do your part in honoring Native voices. Read, watch, and listen, and take time to research ways you can help the communities who are currently highly susceptible to COVID-19, climate change, and more.