Happy Native American/Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month!
November is always a pretty lousy time for me to try and set a concrete TBR. Between YallFest, NaNoWriMo, and my godkids’ various school activities… I usually don’t have much time to read. However, I’m still uncertain about NaNoWriMo this year and I’ll have time to read in the evening at YallFest, so I wanted to go ahead and share some of the books I really want to read this month. All of the books listed below are by Native/Indigenous authors.
WHEN BEAVER WAS VERY GREAT: STORIES TO LIVE BY by Anne M. Dunn.
It happened in the long ago. . . . So begin many folk tales in this wonderful collection of traditional legends and recent writings by Ojibwe elder storyteller Anne Dunn. The short pieces range from folk tales of Native American origin myths (the antics of Beaver, Rabbit, Otter, Bear, and others) to nature writing and contemporary stories of peace, justice, and environmental concern. Brimming with insight, vibrant with strength and beauty, these indeed are stories to live by, for all ages. Divided into the four seasons of the year, and set in the mostly in the Minnesota northwoods near Lake Superior, many of the stories are perfect to be read aloud to children. Anne M. Dunn is an Ojibwe storyteller from the Leech Lake area of Minnesota.
CHICKADEE by Louise Erdrich
Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have done everything together since they were born—until the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated. Desperate to reunite, both Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness. And through it all, Chickadee has the strength of his namesake, the chickadee, to carry him on.
SPIRITS DARK AND LIGHT by Tim Tingle
In the Native American tradition, a strong connection exists between the spirit world and the natural world. What happens in one has direct and often reciprocal impact on the other. In this collection, Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle draws from the rich heritage of the Five Civilized Tribes – the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole nations – and brings tales from the spirit world into our world. These spine-tingling stories not only entertain but provide a window into the native customs and beliefs of these still-vital communities. In “Eagle Slayer,” calamity befalls a Cherokee village when one member violates tradition. The Seminole story “Hungry for Meat” illustrates the premium the once-migratory people place on respecting the remains of the dead – and the penalty for doing otherwise. And the Creek story “Two Friends” takes a horrifying twist on the teaching that we be true to ourselves: trying to be something else violates the natural order and brings a lifetime of pain and isolation. Owls, rabbits, deer, eagles – all of these spirits and more are here, shifting shapes in dizzying sequence and illuminating the values, beliefs, hopes and fears still embraced by the Five Civilized Tribes. These Native American stories will teach readers the importance of courage, resourcefulness and respect.
THE MARROW THIEVES by Cherie Dimaline
In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing “factories.”
ALL OUR RELATIONS: NATIVE STRUGGLES FOR LAND AND LIFE by Winona LaDuke
This eagerly awaited non-fiction debut by acclaimed Native environmental activist Winona LaDuke is a thoughtful and in-depth account of Native resistance to environmental and cultural degradation.LaDuke’s unique understanding of Native ideas and people is born from long years of experience, and her analysis is deepened with inspiring testimonies by local Native activists sharing the struggle for survival.On each page of this volume, LaDuke speaks forcefully for self-determination and community. Hers is a beautiful and daring vision of political, spiritual, and ecological transformation.All Our Relations features chapters on the Seminoles, the Anishinaabeg, the Innu, the Northern Cheyenne, and the Mohawks, among others.
And that’s my TBR for November! Short and sweet but filled with authors I love and authors I hope to love! I hope this gives you a little encouragement to celebrate Native Heritage month with me and pick up a few books by Native authors!
And here’s a thread I made with lots of Native authors and books!