4 Books to Read During Native American Heritage Month
November marks Native American Heritage Month. So read one of these books by Native American authors in celebration!
Books by Native American authors
My first suggestion is The Night Watchman by award-winner Louise Erdrich. It’s 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation. He’s also a prominent Chippewa Council member. And he’s 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 for a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother. She has an alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny if she’s ever going to get to find her missing sister Vera.
My next suggestion is The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this horror story of revenge. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation were childhood friends.
Now they find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives. An entity wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier. It wants to kill them, their families, and friends.
My third suggestion is award-winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He now attends an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Based on the author’s own experiences, the book chronicles one Native American boy’s attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
My last suggestion is The Black Sun by award-winner Rebecca Roanhorse. Inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas, this is about celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic. A god will return when the earth and sky converge under the black sun. In Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal. But this year it coincides with a solar eclipse which could unbalance the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova. It’s set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship can calm the waters around her as easily as she can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. When a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Read one of these books in honor of Native American Heritage Month!