Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month

  • November 5, 2020


November is National Native American Heritage Month. The Library has many books that can help you learn about the history, culture, and accomplishments of the people who were the original inhabitants of what is now the United States.

Below is​ a partial list of recent titles, with annotations from the publishers.


Fry Bread : a Native American Family Story
(American Indian Youth Literature Award, Best Picture Book, 2020)
Library Location: PZ9.85.M35 Fr 9 2019 (Teacher's Studio, 2nd Floor)

D​elves into the history, social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized Indian tribes.


God's Red Son : the Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America
Library Location: E78.W5 W35 2017 (Basement Level)

In 1890, on Indian reservations across the West, followers of a new religion danced in circles until they collapsed into trances. In an attempt to suppress this new faith, the US Army killed over two hundred Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek. Louis Warren's God's Red Son offers a startling new view of the religion known as the Ghost Dance, from its origins in the visions of a Northern Paiute named Wovoka to the tragedy in South Dakota. To this day, the Ghost Dance remains widely mischaracterized as a primitive and failed effort by Indian militants to resist American conquest and return to traditional ways. This book powerfully reveals how Ghost Dance teachings helped Indians retain their identity and reshape the modern world


The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee : Native America from 1890 to the Present
Library Location: E77.T797 2019 (Basement Level)

The received idea of Native American history--as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's mega-bestselling 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee--has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. It is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.


Masters of Empire : Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America
Library Location: E99.O9 M36 2015 (Basement Level)

Historian Michael A. McDonnell reveals the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. Masters of Empire charts the story of one group, the Odawa, who settled at the straits between those two lakes, a hub for trade and diplomacy throughout the vast country west of Montreal known as the 'pays d'en haut.' Highlighting the long-standing rivalries and relationships among the great Indian nations of North America, McDonnell shows how Europeans often played only a minor role in this history, and reminds us that it was native peoples who possessed intricate and far-reaching networks of commerce and kinship, of which the French and British knew little. Through vivid depictions-- all from a native perspective-- of early skirmishes, the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution, Masters of Empire overturns our assumptions about colonial America.


Indigenous pop : Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop
Library Location: ML3557 .I63 2016 (Basement Level)

This book is an interdisciplinary discussion of popular music performed and created by American Indian musicians, providing an important window into history, politics, and tribal communities as it simultaneously complements literary, historiographic, anthropological, and sociological discussions of Native culture"


Lakota America : a New History of Indigenous Power
Library Location: E99.T34 H35 2019 (Basement Level)

This account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty-first century. Pekka Hamalainen explores the Lakotas' roots as marginal hunter-gatherers and reveals how they reinvented themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America's great commercial artery, and then -- in what was America's first sweeping westward expansion -- as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull are iconic figures in the American imagination, but in this book they emerge as something different: the architects of Lakota America, an expansive and enduring Indigenous regime that commanded human fates in the North American interior for generations.


Officially Indian : Symbols that Define the United States
Library Location: E77.5 .G37 2017 (Basement Level)

From maps, monuments, and architectural features to stamps and currency, images of Native Americans have been used again and again on visual expressions of American national identity since before the country's founding. In this in-depth study, Cecile R. Ganteaume argues that these representations are not empty symbols but reflect how official and semi-official government institutions -- from the U.S. Army and the Department of the Treasury to the patriotic fraternal society Sons of Liberty -- have attempted to define what the country stands for. Seen collectively and studied in detail, American Indian imagery on a wide range of emblems -- almost invariably distorted and bearing little relation to the reality of Native American-U.S. government relations -- sheds light on the United States' evolving sense of itself as a democratic nation.


The Oxford Handbook of American Indian History
Library Location: E77 .O94 2016 (Basement Level)

This book confronts this erroneous view by presenting an accurate and comprehensive history of the indigenous peoples who lived - and live - in the territory that became the United States. Thirty-two leading experts, both Native and non-Native, describe the historical developments of the past five hundred years in American Indian history, focusing on significant moments of upheaval and change, histories of indigenous occupation, and overviews of Indian community life. The first section of the book charts Indian history from before 1492 to European invasions and settlement, analyzing US expansion and up to the twenty-first century. A second group of essays consists of regional and tribal histories. The final section illuminates distinctive themes of Indian life, including gender sexuality and family, spirituality, art, intellectual history, education, public welfare, legal issues, and urban experiences.


Seven ​M​yths of Native American ​H​istory
Library Location: E98.P99 J46 2018 (Basement Level)

Traces the history of colonial-era fantasies about the Indians of North America and explores their consequences for Native Americans.


The Storied Landscape of Iroquoia : History, Conquest, and Memory in the Native Northeast
Library Location: E99.I7 A637 2020 (Basement Level)

The author offers a significant contribution to understanding colonialism, intercultural conflict, and intercultural interpretations of the Iroquoian landscape during the late 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries in central and western New York, the traditional Haudenosaunee homeland. Throughout this period of European colonization, the Haudenosaunee remained the dominant power in their homelands and one of the most important diplomatic players in the struggle for the continent upon European settlement of North America by the Dutch, British, French, Spanish, and Russians.


Surviving Genocide : Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas
Library Location: E93 .O78 2019 (Basement Level)

In the first part of this sweeping two-volume history, Jeffrey Ostler investigates how American democracy relied on Indian dispossession and the federally sanctioned use of force to remove or slaughter Indians in the way of U.S. expansion. He charts the losses that Indians suffered from relentless violence and upheaval and the attendant effects of disease, deprivation, and exposure. This volume centers on the eastern United States from the 1750s to the start of the Civil War. An authoritative contribution to the history of the United States' violent path toward building a continental empire, this ambitious and well-researched book deepens our understanding of the seizure of indigenous lands, including the use of treaties to create the appearance of Native consent to dispossession. Ostler also carefully documents the resilience of Native people, showing how they survived genocide by creating alliances, defending their towns, and rebuilding their communities.


When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through : a Norton anthology of Native Nations Poetry
Library Location: PS591.I55 W47 2020 (2nd Floor)

United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.


Why We Serve : Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces
Library Location: E98.M5 H37 2020 (Basement Level)

American Indians have served in our nation's military since colonial times. For many, military service is an extension of their warrior traditions. Others serve for love of home and country. Throughout Indian Country, servicemen and women are some of the most honored members of their communities. Charged by Congress with creating a memorial on its grounds, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) will dedicate the National Native American Veterans Memorial in fall 2020 to give all Americans the opportunity "to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans." Why We Serve commemorates the opening of the memorial through the history of Native military service in all its complexity, from colonial Native nations who forged alliances, attempting to preserve their sovereignty, to contemporary individuals celebrating their Indigenous culture while fighting in foreign conflicts.