10 Best Books About Indigenous Peoples Update 05/2022

October 11 is “Indigenous Peoples Day.” This is a day to honor indigenous and Native American people as well as those from First Nations tribes. More than a dozen states have changed the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, but not Massachusetts. On Wednesday, Boston Mayor Kim Janey signed an executive order renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day on the city’s calendar. List of books written by indigenous authors and from many different genres were made to celebrate this change in society and the day. Horror, romance and fantasy were some of the genres. Then, if you decide to read any of these books, think about buying them from a store run by people who live there.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

American life is mostly the same in another world, but there is one big difference: magic is common and monsters of legend walk the Earth. This is what happens in another world. Even though some of these forces can be charmingly normal, there are still a lot of dark things that are out there. Like many of her family members, Elatsoe, a young Lipan Apache girl, can bring back the ghosts of dead animals, just like many of them can, too. Then, when her cousin is killed in a mysterious town, Elatsoe decides to do what she can to find out who did it and protect her family from the same thing.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

People who like Stephen Graham Jones’s books, which are mostly about indigenous people, might want to read this scary one soon. This book is about four Native American men who have to fight for their lives years after a bad thing happened to them in their youth. A violent and vengeful person is soon after the childhood friends. This person wants to bring back the culture and traditions they tried to leave behind.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Dinétah, which used to be a Navajo reservation, is one of the few civilizations that still exists today after a climate change that caused water levels to rise to an unimaginable level. Even so, the gods and legendary heroes of this new world are there, and they’re going to try to kill the people who stay. Maggie Hoskie, a Dinétah monster hunter, is the only person who stands between evil and what’s left of her world. She is hired by a small town to find a missing girl. A local medicine man named Kai Arviso comes to help her. They travel across the Rez together, while Maggie fights off her most dangerous enemy yet.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a historian and activist, wrote this 2015 American Book Award winner. She wants to tell the history of the United States from the point of view of its indigenous peoples. This book is very important because it covers more than 400 years of Native American history. It starts with the beginnings of European settler-colonialism and goes through the Trail of Tears, the campaign to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and more.

There There by Tommy Orange

On the way to the Big Oakland Powwow, 12 Native American people who live in cities have to deal with their own personal demons. All these characters don’t know is that they are all connected to one another in ways they haven’t thought about yet. They are all bound together by painful history, a complicated present, and a shared heritage.

Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction edited by Joshua Whitehead

The editor of this young adult anthology is Lambda Literary Award winner Joshua Whitehead. Indigenous authors write short stories about utopian and dystopian worlds with Two-Spirit and LGBT+ heroes in them. Darcie Little Badger (Elatsoe), Gwen Benaway, Mari Kurisato, and more are some of the authors who helped. These stories are part of an anthology called “Love Beyond Bodies, Space, and Time,” which won an American Indian Youth Literature Award honor. This collection is a follow-up.

Heartbeat Braves by Pamela Sanderson

It’s Rayanne Larson’s dream job to help indigenous people who live outside of the reservation and in the city. But when the center’s new leader gives one of her projects to his nephew, Henry Grant, who doesn’t want to work for the center, things get even more frustrating for everyone. His heart starts to race when he sees Rayanne and can’t help but fall for her. Rayanne doesn’t want to be friends with the (attractive) man who came in and stole her project. She wants to stay away from him. But when the center is in trouble, the two must work together.

The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Beth Teller is no longer with us, and she has died. She can’t help her father get back on his feet, either. Huh? Dad is the only person who can see and hear her after she dies. Because of this case, Beth wants to show her detective father that life is worth living even when she’s gone. It’s a mystery. A fire at a shelter for troubled kids killed a lot of people. Who is Isobel Catching? How does she see Beth’s spirit, and how is she linked to the fire?

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Kerewin Holmes, an artist who is part Maori and part European, has lost touch with her art. Artwork isn’t what she used to be able to do. Her family doesn’t want to spend time with her. She lives alone until a boy named Simon and his foster father named Joe show up.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

In this book, Tagaq, an Inuit throat singer, combines fiction, memoir, poetry, and Inuit folklore. The book won the Indigenous Voices Award. Following an unnamed Inuk woman growing up in 1970s Canada, the book switches between short stories, poems, and illustrations. This girl grows up and goes through all of the trials and tribulations that come with leaving childhood behind.

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