Indigenous People’s Day book list

Artwork from Amplifer art, a collage of colorful artwork, by Tracie Ching.
Thriving Peoples Thriving Places
The Thriving Peoples Thriving Places campaign was a collaboration between Nia Tero and Amplifier, and uplifts the stories of fifteen Indigenous women leaders from locales spanning from the Philippines and New Zealand to the Brazilian Amazon and the Arctic.
Updated artwork 10/10/22, replaced stock photo with this art.

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day 2022, Monday, 10 October 2022, I’ve put together a bonus blog post. Here is a short list of books for you to explore written by Indigenous authors.

The Bookshop links below are for my Bookshop affiliate; all the proceeds are used to purchase books that are donated to public schools with majority POC student bodies and ‘high poverty schools.’

Indigenous Owned Bookstores:

Please order and shop from Native owned bookstores, here are a few to check out.

Birchbark Books in Minneapolis – Owned by Ojibwe/Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich Birchbark Books is a gem of an online bookstore.

Nā Mea Hawai’i in Honolulu, Hawai’i translates into all things Hawaiian. The store features art, books, and gifts. I missed visiting in person on my last trip to Hawai’i, but glad they have an extensive website to browse and order from as well.

Strong Nations in Canada features many Canadian Indigenous artist and authors.

I’m excited to find Red Planet Books & Comics. “The only Native owned comic shop in the world,” according to their website.

If you know of other Indigenous-owned bookstores, please let us know,

Picture Books

Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion) is coming out soon. I read an advanced reader copy e-book (I always prefer paper children’s books when reviewing since reading is also tactile for children, I won’t comment on the binding, feel, etc.). I enjoyed this book so much, from the inclusion of Indigenous language, to the illustrations, and the connection to nature it was delightful. It also reminded me to slow down and connect with something as simple as a dandelion.

Michaela Goade is well-known for her gorgeous illustrations in other books. Berry Song is her first self-authored book and it is delightful. She tells the story about different berries and how they are gifts from the earth.

I found Shaped by Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez at my local library on a shelf and picked it up. I learned so much from this book about pottery and Indigenous arts in the Southwest.

Early Reader, Graphic Novels, and Chapter Books

I was skeptical about this book because it comes from the series by Chelsea Clinton, but I’m glad to put that bias aside. She Persisted: Maria Tallchief is authored by Christine Day, a Native American author and it shows through. Pick this up if you have children in your life who are dancers.

A Native American friend in Montana posted this book on Twitter saying it was good. I got a copy from my local library and read it with my kid who loves graphic novels. We both enjoyed Thunderous. Another great graphic/comic Native authored book is Trickster.

This is such an underappreciated book. Stone River Crossing builds off of the picture book Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom. Author Tim Tingle, Oklahoma Choctaw, is a gifted storyteller and it shines through in this chapter book. Both books explore the cross-racial relationships between Black and Native peoples.

Adult Books

If you haven’t read Braiding Sweetgrass yet, please do. That is all. Author Robin Wall Kimmerer has a young adult version of the book coming out soon.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s book An American Sunrise Poems made me feel and think. I don’t think I fully comprehended the poetry I read, which means I should read it again. I hope you’ll join me in reading this book of poetry. Harjo and illustrator Michaela Goade (mentioned above) have a new children’s book coming out in 2023 – excited for this pair-up.

Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America is coming out in 2023; based on what I’ve seen of the project this book will be worth its shelf space.

There are so many more good books to share, but I’ll save those for a future list/blog post. Please spend Indigenous People’s Day learning more about Indigenous histories from around the world. This is a very North American, US-skewed list and there are Indigenous people around the world – please share some good titles with me about the Indigenous people where you are – Inidigenous authored or illustrated only books please,

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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawai’i; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.