November 1, 2014

Native American Heritage Month in Books




November is Native American Heritage Month and I want to celebrate by sharing some books about Native American history and culture, as well as novels that feature Native Americans.

Note: I totally already posted this, yes, in August, which I have no idea why I thought that was Native American Heritage Month.  So I took it down in Sept. when I realized I was wrong (thanks to my friend, Bianca, a Navajo, though she says enjoy N.A. culture whenever we want to) and I am re-posting it now.  In the correct month.  *facepalm*

I have listed below a variety of books to check out, and if you are so inclined also feel free to peruse my Take Me Away posts for more reading lists- CherokeeSioux, and Inuit Cultures. 


(All following book descriptions are thanks to GR.)

HISTORY



Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold almost four million copies and has been translated into seventeen languages. For this elegant thirtieth-anniversary edition -- published in both hardcover and paperback -- Brown has contributed an incisive new preface.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity,Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won.



Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
This is the powerful autobiography of Mary Brave Bird, who grew up in the misery of a South Dakota reservation. Rebelling against the violence and hopelessness of reservation life, she joined the tribal pride movement in an effort to bring about much-needed changes.



The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull by Robert M. Utley

Few figures in American history have been so little understood as Sitting Bull. This first authoritative study of any Native American leader considers the legendary warrior in terms of his people's cultural values, exposes many ironies of Indian-white relations, and more. 



The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History by Joseph M. Marshall III

As a brilliant leader of a desperate cause and one of the most perennially fascinating figures of the American West, Crazy Horse crushed Custer's 7th Cavalry and brought the United States Army to its knees. Now, with the help of celebrated historian Joseph Marshall, we finally have the opportunity to know Crazy Horse as his fellow Lakota Indians knew him.  Drawing on extensive research and a rich oral tradition that it rarely shared outside Native American circles, Marshall - himself a descendent of the Lakota community that raised Crazy Horse - creates a vibrant portrait of the man, his times, and his legacy. From the powerful vision that spurred him into battle to the woman he loved but lost to duty and circumstance, this is a compelling celebration of a culture, an enduring way of life, and the unforgettable hero who remains a legend among legends.


CULTURE



The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
In this enchanting book, Scott Momaday retells myths of his people and describes the Indian way of life he knew as a child. In two dozen passages, he tells of how his people entered the world through a hollow log, shares stories of great events and heroes, and recalls fantastic creatures like a buffalo with horns of steel. Supplementing these stories with factual notations and personal reminiscences, Momaday has created more than a collection of folklore. The Way to Rainy Mountain is a treasury of images that preserves the Kiowa way of life.



American Indian Myths and Legends by Richard Erdoes

Gathering 160 tales from 80 tribal groups to offer a rich and lively panarama of the Native American mythic heritage. 100 drawings.



FICTION



A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past.




The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

n his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.



Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

The life of Spokane Indian Thomas Builds-the-Fire irrevocably changes when blues legend Robert Johnson miraculously appears on his reservation and passes the misfit storyteller his enchanted guitar. Inspired by this gift, Thomas forms Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic band who find themselves on a magical tour that leads from reservation bars to Seattle and New York--and deep within their own souls.



The Plague of Doves by Louise Eldrich

The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation.  Part Ojibwe, part white, Evelina Harp is an ambitious young girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan
Native Americans made rich by the Oklahoma oil boom of the 1920s fall victim to a campaign of fraud and intimidation on the part of white businessmen eager to rob them of their new-found wealth.
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
This moving adaptation of the classic children's story Cinderella tells how a disfigured Algonquin girl wins the heart of a mysterious being who lives by the lake near her village.  The powerful Invisible Being is looking for a wife, and all the girls in the village vie for his affections. But only the girl who proves she can see him will be his bride. The two beautiful but spoiled daughters of a poor village man try their best to be chosen, but it is their Rough-Face-Girl sister, scarred on her face and arms from tending fires, who sees the Invisible Being in the wonder of the natural world.  The dramatic illustrations reflect the vibrant earth colors of the native landscape and the wisdom and sensitivity of the protagonist.

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