There are no books by Native Americans in my library.
The stark realization hit me when I peered at the spine of every book in my possession, and nothing centered on Native American life.
November is National Native American Heritage Month. Last month, I wrote a post on the diversity problem in my library when it came to Latina authors. As a Black woman identifying as African and African American, I’m still playing catch up with works by Black authors and finding that it may be more difficult to see books by a variety of Black women in a bookstore or library. For the average person not being exposed to the diversity of female voices is what this website explores.
To increase my knowledge, I read three books in a row by Latina authors in preparation to ensure more voices are added to my to-be-read aka the #tbr list on an ongoing basis. I also have to make that concerted effort to read more books by Native American women and keep searching for their stories to enhance my overall reading experience.
This month and beyond, I plan to read the following award-winning best-sellers:
An American Sunrise and Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is the 23rd poet laureate of the United States, now serving her second term as the nation’s top poet. Among her nine books of poetry, An American Sunrise is one of her most critically acclaimed works. She is also a memoirist with Poet Warrior being her newest autobiography. She is member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Both books are published by W.W. Norton & Company.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a SUNY distinguished teaching professor of environmental biology and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her second book, Braiding Sweetgrass, made the best-seller lists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. She is member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Her book is published by Milkweed Editions.
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
Michelle Good is a poet and novelist with her 2020 debut Five Little Indians that won several awards, including Amazon Canada First Novel Award. She also works as a lawyer advocating for residential school survivors. She is a descendent of the Battle River Cree and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.
Her book is published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko became one of the first Native American authors to gain recognition in the literary world with her 1977 novel Ceremony. She followed up that success with a series of novels and a memoir. Growing up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, her ancestry includes Mexican, Laguna Indian, and European blood.
Her book is a part of the Penguin Orange Collection published by Penguin Classics of Penguin Random House.