6 Best Books About Native American History Update 05/2022

Books About Native American History

The 574 federally recognized tribes make up a wide range of Native American cultures, each with its own unique history and experiences. Some people don’t pay attention to these unique stories.

Native American history has often been told from a European point of view that downplays or ignores the many injustices Native Americans have suffered. The full and complicated histories of Native Americans are often misrepresented or omitted entirely when people talk about American history in general.

As a result, it’s important to know that the rich history of Indigenous peoples isn’t just important for understanding the United States, but it’s also interesting in its own right.

The books below try to show history from the point of view of Native Americans. These books change how events are seen and give voice to the experiences of Indigenous peoples. They also have a lot of good information and insight. They dispel myths, tell stories of people fighting back, and show how people live in thriving communities. While the list below isn’t complete, these books cover a lot of time and go from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They also have a lot of different stories.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

By Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Dee Brown’s book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, changed his view of the American West in a big way. It told a gripping, heartbreaking, and mostly untold story about the people who lived there. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee looks at the history of the frontier from the point of view of Native Americans. It tells of the twisted treaties and violent clashes between the U.S. government and Native Americans. Brown talks about the history of the Navajo, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Apache, as well as many other Native groups. He also talks about the Reconstruction era and the end of the century, which led to the Battle of Wounded Knee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee tells the story of leaders like Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull, who fought to protect their people, land, and culture.

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

By David Treuer

It’s called The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, and it’s based on Dee Brown’s work. Treuer talks about Native American history from the 1890s to the present day.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee talks about how Native Americans have been able to keep their culture alive, navigate power, and fight for their own independence. As part of a book that was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2019, Treuer talks about the history of Indigenous peoples. It was also named a best book of 2019 by the New York Times, Time, NPR, and more. President Obama even included it in his favorite books of 2019.

If you want to learn more about David Treuer, read his memoir Rez Life. It tells about how he grew up on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, which won the American Book Award in 2015, is a comprehensive look back at the events of the last 400 years. It’s also a winner. Early on, Dunbar-Ortiz looks back at how the United States has treated Native Americans, from the early colonial era to Andrew Jackson’s presidency and the Westward Expansion. Dunbar-Ortiz changes the way the story is told to show how the United States has done terrible things and how Native people have fought back.

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

By Claudio Saunt 

Unworthy Republic The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

May 1830 was the date when the United States made it official that it was going to move Native Americans from the East to places west of the Mississippi River.” Just because it was a humanitarian project, the project had to be done in a systematic and rational way, and it had to be overseen by Washington’s small but growing bureaucracy. However, over the next 10 years, thousands of Native Americans died under the federal government’s watch, and thousands more lost their possessions and lands in a scheme of fraud, intimidation, and violence. Unworthy Republic explains how expulsion became a national policy and describes the chaos and death of the operation to send 80,000 men, women, and children out of the country.

Saunt’s book is very well-researched, and he says that Indian Removal was not an inevitable part of the U.S.’s expansion across the continent. It relies on firsthand accounts and a lot of government records. Rather, it was a politically charged act that was meant to secure new land for slavery and consolidate the power of the southern states. State-sponsored mass deportations were a big change for native peoples and the United States in the modern era. This was one of them.

W.W. Norton: —

Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

By Nick Estes

2016: A protest camp at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, which was set up to stop the construction of an oil pipeline, grew to be one of the biggest Native American protests of this century. It was clear to the Water Protectors that this fight for native sovereignty had been done many times before, and that even when the camp was gone, their fight against colonization would not end there.

This book by Nick Estes is called Our History Is the Future. In it, he talks about how Native American resistance led to the #NoDAPL movement. “Our History Is the Future is both a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of how people have tried to fight back against the government.”

—Verso

Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land 

By Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen learned to shoot birds with her father, who was a member of the NRA when she was a child. Since she’s an adult, she’s had guns pointed at her near Standing Rock and felt their silent threat at the concealed-carry school where she teaches. This is something that she’s always known. For her, being an Indian is not a new thing. As a Métis woman who has seen the violence that has been done to the bodies and land of Indigenous women, and to the ways that it has been hidden or forgotten.

Carry is a book by Jensen that looks at how history is lived in the body and changes the way we talk about violence in the United States. When Toni Jensen writes, she shows herself to be a brave new voice who isn’t afraid to tell her own story, as well as the violent culture in which she finds her home. Carry tells us that surviving in one’s country is not the same as surviving one’s country.”

As for Ballantine Books, that’s what they say.

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