Speaking Volumes : Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. There are an infinite number of indigenous stories to share: these are just a few of them.


Picture Books

Thunder Boy, Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Little Thunder doesn't want to share a name with his dad Big Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name... Author Sherman Alexi grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and his writings draw on his experiences as an Indigenous American with ancestry from several tribes.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard

Fry bread is food. Fry bread is time. Fry bread is nation. Fry bread is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference. Written by author Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor and journalist who is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band.

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith

Award-winning author Monique Gray Smith, who is of Cree, Lakota and Scottish descent, wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens.

WONDERful Women - Picture Books



Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home. The author, the late Charlene Willing McManis, was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallcheif shares her story of growing up on the Osage Indian reservation as a gifted pianist and dancer. According to Osage tradition, women are not permitted to dance, but Maria's parents recognized her gifts and allowed her to break the rule. Then when Maria reached the age of twelve, her father told her it was time to choose between her two loves. Maria chose ballet. It was a decision that would change not only the course of her life, but the face of classical ballet in America.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

Edie knows that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, she is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. But one day she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? Inspired by her family’s history, Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets and finds her own Native American identity.

WONDERful Women - Jr Graphic Novels


YA Fic / YA Non Fic

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

#NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle

Twenty Choctaw girls die when the New Hope Academy for Girls was set aflame on New Year’s Eve, but Rose Goode escapes. When the white sheriff beats her grandfather Amafo in front of the town's people, instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. It's a world full of mystery, deep wisdom, backwoods spiritualism and shape-shifting panthers rendering justice. Author Tim Tingle, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is an award-winning author and storyteller.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots, but then the Cloud came, Tech stopped working, and the world plunged back into a new steam age. Genetically-engineered monsters, previously pets of the rich, turned on them and are now loose on the world. Hired to hunt these monsters, Lozen’s unique set of survival skills and magical abilities connect her to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear that she is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero. Like much of his work, this books draws on author Joseph Bruchac’s Native American ancestry, this time reimagined in a post-apocalyptic world.


Teen and YA Book Covers


Adult Non-Fiction

Indigenous peoples of the Arctic, Subarctic, and Northwest Coast by Kathleen Kuiper

The indigenous peoples of North America and Greenland have long inhabited and thrived in a variety of terrains and climates. The three different culture areas of the Arctic, American Subarctic, and American Northwest perhaps best exemplify this—from the sometimes stark environment of the tundra to the moderate conditions of the coastal regions in northern California, the indigenous communities in each found ways to subsist on the resources available to them even when facing social, political, or geographic adversity. This compelling volume examines the histories, lifestyles, and the spiritual and cultural traditions of the diverse groups that make up these culture areas.

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous stres of rebellion and renewal  by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger

What do people do when their civilization is invaded? Indigenous people have been faced with disease, war, broken promises, and forced assimilation. Despite crushing losses and insurmountable challenges, they formed new nations from the remnants of old ones, they adopted new ideas and built on them, they fought back, and they kept their cultures alive.

Forty Days Without a Shadow by Louise Rogers Lalaurie

This novel was originally published in France in 2012 under the title Le dernier Lapon by Editions Metailie. This murder-mystery takes place during the polar night in Kautokeino a small village in northern Norway, home to the indiginous Sami people. In the last hours of darkenss of a long, dark winter, a percious artifact is stolen and hours later a murder occurs. Mattis, a Sami reindeer herder, is found dead in his gumpy. Reading the mystery and see if you can figure out if these two are connected.


Adult Book Covers




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