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Book Lovers, Read These Works by Indigenous Authors

Categories: Ideas and Innovation
Image: man in straw hat, laying on mountaintop overlooking green mountains and reading a book. Check out this list of nine books by Indigenous authors.

August 9 marks both National Book Lovers Day and the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which raises awareness of the needs of, and honors, Indigenous people. If you’re searching for another printed book to add to your reading list, consider honoring and learning from Indigenous voices by selecting titles written by Indigenous authors.

Here are nine books to consider for your TBR.

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt

This debut memoir by Canada’s First Nations Rhodes Scholar includes memories of his early life in Joussard, Alberta, as part of the Driftpile First Nation. It’s a “profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward.” (Amazon)

The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes

Hayes, a Tlingit author and professor from Juneau, shares her experiences as an Alaska Native and older college graduate. Hers is a story of resilience and transformation.

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

This award-winning novel by Good, a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, tells the stories of five young students of a remote, church-run residential school in Vancouver.

Sept. 30 is Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day honors survivors and the children who never returned home from the residential schools, along with their families and communities.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

Another of the great Indigenous authors, Treuer grew up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota. “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” tells the story of American Indians from the end of the 19th century to the present. Their struggles to preserve languages, traditions, families — and their very existence — have made them resilient and resourceful.

Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science by Jessica Hernandez, Ph.D.

Jessica Hernandez, Ph.D., a Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec environmental scientist, makes the case for stopping eco-colonialism and restoring our relationship with the planet by contextualizing Indigenous environmental knowledge and proposing a vision of land stewardship that heals and generates.

Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

In “Even As We Breathe,” a work of historical fiction set during World War II, 19-year-old Cowney Sequoyah from Cherokee, North Carolina, takes a summer job at the Grove Park Inn and Resort — the temporary residence of Axis diplomats and families being held as prisoners of war. He meets Essie Stamper, a young Cherokee woman and fellow employee who also dreams of a better life.

Clapsaddle is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

This novel tells stories of resistance, love and joy in Anishinaabe life. “A bold literary act of decolonization and resistance, ‘Noopiming’ offers a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits—and the daily work of healing.” (Amazon)

Simpson is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of the Alderville First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius

“Stolen” follows a young Sámi woman struggling to defend her culture and her family’s reindeer herd amidst racism, climate change and a ruthless hunter. This Indigenous author’s coming-of-age story is based on real events that took place in a lesser-known area of Sweden.

Laestadius is Sámi and of Tornedalian descent — two of Sweden’s national minorities.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In this bestselling collection of essays, Kimmerer, an indigenous botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, sheds light on the importance of a reciprocal relationship with nature.

Download and print a copy of this reading list: Indigenous Authors Reading List

See our other reading lists.

Which books written by Indigenous authors will you add to your reading list? Tell us on social.