National Native American Heritage Month — Part Two

Welcome to part two of our celebration of National Native American Heritage Month! (We had way too many good books for just one month — and there’s certainly no reason to restrict our appreciation of Native Americans in life and literature to a single month!) This month, our focus is on fiction and folklore by or about Native Americans.

Our tips for searching and evaluating books from last month are still very relevant, so it may be helpful to review them.

You’ll notice that some of the books featured this month are bilingual. For tips finding more like this, see our guide here:

For a really great list of Native American authors, visit this page from the ipl2. You can search by author, title, or tribe. Each author page lists their tribe, a bibliography, as well as online resources about them.

And now, on to the books!

Folklore & Poetry

James, Elizabeth.
The woman who married a bear. 2008.
In this retelling of an ancient West Coast First Nations’ tale, an arrogant young woman who insults the bears is forced to stay with a clan of Bear People and marry a bear.
[S-Coll S.398.2 J2327w]

McLaughlin, Timothy P. (ed.)
Walking on earth & touching the sky: poetry and prose by Lakota youth at Red Cloud Indian School. 2012.
Collects poetry written by Lakota students at Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota on such topics as the history of oral tradition, the struggles of everyday life, and their personal connections to the natural world.
[S-Coll S.810.80897 W1544]

Taylor, C. J.
Spirits, fairies, and merpeople: Native stories of other worlds. 2009.
From the heartbreaking Mi’kmaq story of Minnow, a mermaid in the Atlantic who must choose between two worlds to that of Water Lily and her five brothers, told by the Coos in British Columbia, creatures that inhabit fantastic realms appear in many First Nation stories. C. J. Taylor draws from those stories and from her own Mohawk heritage in this collection of haunting tales about some of the powerful spirits who touch the lives of human folk.
[S-Coll S.398.2 T212sp]

Picture Books

Browne, Vee.
The stone cutter and the Navajo maiden = Tse yitsidi doo Ch’ikeeh bitsedaashjee’. 2008.
In English and Navajo. When the metate, or grinding stone, that Cinnibah uses to grind corn into flour breaks, she sets out on a quest to mend the precious family heirloom.
[S-Coll Q. S. B8123s]

Campbell, Nicola I.
Shin-chi’s canoe. 2008.
When Shin-chi and his sister go off to his first year of Residential School in a cattle truck, she warns him of all the things he must not do. The days are long, he is very lonely and always hungry, but he find solace down at the river with a gift from his father, a tiny cedar canoe. It seems like a very long time until the salmon swim upriver again and he can finally go home.
[S-Coll S. C153sh]

Highway, Tomson.
Fox on the ice / Maageesees maskwameek kaapit. 2011.
Parallel text in English and Cree. Brothers Joe and Cody are spending a chilly winter afternoon ice fishing with their parents. Cody is helping Papa fish, while Mama and Joe doze in the sled. Suddenly the sled dogs sit up and sniff. A fox is across the lake, her fur as bright as flames. The sled dogs give chase, pulling Mama and Joe along on a wild ride.
[S-Coll S. H5392f]

King, Thomas.
A Coyote solstice tale. 2009.
Trickster Coyote is having his friends over for a festive solstice get-together in the woods when a little girl comes by unexpectedly. She leads the party-goers through the snowy woods to a shopping mall, a place they have never seen before. Coyote gleefully shops with abandon, only to discover that filling your shopping cart with goodies is not quite the same thing as actually paying for them. The trickster is tricked and goes back to his cabin in the woods, somewhat subdued, though nothing can keep Coyote down for long.
[S-Coll S. K587c]

Zacharias, Joanne.
Taku wadaka he? = (What do you see?). 2008.
Text in Dakota and English. On the pages of this book you will find a number of images hidden inside a picture of a tipi. These images are all-important or sacred to the Dakota people. On facing pages each image is taken out of the tipi and set in its own atmosphere for all to enjoy. The Dakota people have many stories and memories that thrive around these images which have been handed down from generation to generation. That is how our stories and memories are kept alive.
[S-Coll Q. S. Z118t]

Intermediate Fiction

Crowley, James.
Starfish: a novel. 2010.
In the early part of the 1900s, Beatrice and Lionel, two Blackfeet Indian children, escape from the Chalk Bluff Indian Boarding School in Montana to find their grandfather, and must elude their pursuers and make a life for themselves in the wilderness.
[S-Coll S. C8866st]

Erdrich, Louise.
The porcupine year. 2008.
In 1852, forced by the United States government to leave their beloved Island of the Golden Breasted Woodpecker, fourteen-year-old Omokayas and her Ojibwe family travel in search of a new home.
[S-Coll S. Er292p]

Marsden, Carolyn.
Bird Springs. 2007.
When drought and his father’s absence force them to leave the Navajo reservation at Bird Springs, ten-year-old Gregory, his mother, and sister move to a motel in Tuscon, Arizona, where one of Gregory’s teachers helps him confront his painful past.
[SSHEL Storage S. M351bi]

Ross, Sylvia.
Blue Jay Girl. 2010.
In long-ago California in the area populated by the various tribes of the Yokuts group, a young Yaudanchi girl who is troubled because of her impetuous nature turns to the tribe’s shaman for advice on how to be less like a blue jay and more like a quail. Includes a glossary and facts about the Indians of the Tule River Indian Reservation.
[S-Coll S. R73312b]

Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk.
Lana’s Lakota moons. 2007.
Cousins Lori and Lana, Lakota Indians who have a close but competitive relationship, learn about their heritage and culture throughout the year, and when a Laotian-Hmong girl comes to their school, they make friends with her and “adopt” her as one of their own.
[SSHEL Storage S. Sn28l]

Young Adult Fiction

Alexie, Sherman.
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. 2007.
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.
[S-Coll S. AL2752a]

Bruchac, Joseph.
March toward the thunder. 2008.
Louis Nollette, a fifteen-year-old Abenaki Indian, joins the Irish Brigade in 1864 to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Based on the author’s great-grandfather; includes author’s note.
[S-Coll S. B833m]

Edwardson, Debby Dahl.
My name is not easy. 2011.
Alaskans Luke, Chickie, Sonny, Donna, and Amiq relate their experiences in the early 1960s when they are forced to attend a Catholic boarding school where, despite different tribal affiliations, they come to find a sort of family and home.
[S-Coll S. Ed98m]

Kanell, Beth.
The darkness under the water. 2008.
In 1930, sixteen-year-old Molly lives under the shadow of a governor who wants to sterilize people “unfit to be true Vermonters,” such as her Abenaki family, while the loss of her family home, her mother’s pregnancy, her first love, and other events transform her life.
[S-Coll S. K1317d]

Yeahpau, Thomas.
X-Indian chronicles: the book of Mausape. 2006.
A collection of interwoven stories that chronicles the lives of several X-Indians — those Indians who have lost their traditional beliefs, traditions, and medicines — as they grow up and become young men.
[S-Coll S. Y31x]