November was designated National Native American Heritage Month in 1990 by George H. W. Bush. Since then, National Native American Heritage Month has been celebrated annually in an effort to recognize the first Americans and their contributions to the development of our country. It gives Native Americans the opportunity to embrace and share their culture with others.
Here are a few books that can be borrowed from JMRL if you are interested in learning more about the Native American experience in the 20th and 21st centuries:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko – On a New Mexico reservation, one Navajo family–including Tayo, a World War II veteran deeply scarred by his experiences as a Japanese POW and by the rejection of his own people–struggles to survive in a world no longer theirs in the years just before and after World War II.
The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich – Discovering a cache of valuable Native American artifacts while appraising a family estate in New Hampshire, Faye Travers investigates the history of a ceremonial drum, which possesses spiritual powers and changes the lives of people who encounter it.
Solar Storms by Linda Hogan – A Chickasaw Indian poet and novelist, author of the prize-winning “Mean Spirit,” presents a novel about five generations of Native American women and their struggle to preserve their way of life.
Winter in the Blood by James Welch – A thirty-two-year-old Indian living on a reservation in Montana balks at the emptiness and lonely confines of his life.
If you’d like to discover more Native American authors, you can check out Native American Writers by Steven Otfinoski, which summarizes, analyzes, and explores the themes of the major works of notable Native American authors, and presents short biographies about them.