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Indigenous Experience

Books that authentically reflect the Native American experience.

Middle School

Cover of Dreaming in Indian: Contem
Lisa Charleyboy, edited by
Mary Beth Leatherdale
Annick Press
2014

In a graphics-intensive, magazine-style format, 50 Native/Indian contributors from Canada and the United States present visual art (photography, drawings, paintings), poems, interviews and remembrances to show what it means to be Native/Indian today. Topics range from stereotypes and discrimination to discussions of the contributors' careers in activism, modeling, music, visual arts and more.

Cover of I Can Make This Promise
Christine
Day
Harper
2019

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Cover of An Indigenous Peoples’ H
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and adapted by
Jean Mendoza & Debbie Reese
Beacon Press
2019

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism. Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.

Cover of If I Ever Get Out of Here
Eric
Gansworth
Arthur A. Levine Books
2013

Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George.

Cover of The Grizzly Mother
Brett D.
Huson
Natasha Donovan
Highwater Press
2019

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need to survive on their own.

Cover of The Case of Windy Lake
Michael
Hutchinson
Second Story Press
2019

Sam, Otter, Atim, and Chickadee are four inseparable cousins growing up on the Windy Lake First Nation. Nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats for their habit of laughing, fighting, and exploring together, the cousins find that each new adventure adds to their reputation. When a visiting archaeologist goes missing, the cousins decide to solve the mystery of his disappearance. In the midst of community conflict, family concerns, and environmental protests, the four get busy following every lead.

Cover of Indian No More
Charlene Willing
McManis
Tu Books, an Imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc.
2019

Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe's reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight and they’re forced from their homeland. Her family registers in the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves to Los Angeles. Now Regina must find out: Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay?

Cover of In the Footsteps of Crazy
Joseph
Marshall
Amulet Books
2015

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you wouldn’t guess it by his name: his father is part white and part Lakota, and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota and American history. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

Cover of Apple in the Middle
Dawn
Quigley
North Dakota State University Press
2018

After her wealthy father gives her the boot one summer, Apple Starkington reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the first time. Bouncing in the middle of two cultures, Apple meets her Indian relatives, shatters Indian stereotypes, and learns what it means to find her place in a world divided by color.

Cover of How I Became a Ghost
Tim
Tingle
Road Runner Press
2013

A Choctaw boy tells the story of his tribe's removal from the only land his people had ever known, and how their journey to Oklahoma led him to become a ghost, one with the ability to help those he left behind.

High School

Cover of Fighter in Velvet Gloves:
Annie Boochever
with Roy Peratrovich Jr.
University of Alaska Press

“No Natives or Dogs Allowed,” blared the storefront sign at Elizabeth Peratrovich, then a young Alaska Native Tlingit. The sting of those words would stay with her all her life. Years later, after becoming a seasoned fighter for equality, she would deliver her own powerful message: one that helped change Alaska and the nation forever. In 1945, Peratrovich stood before the Alaska Territorial Legislative Session and gave a powerful speech about her childhood and her experiences being treated as a second-class citizen. Her heartfelt testimony led to the passing of the landmark Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act.

Cover of Brothers of the Buffalo: a
Joseph
Bruchac
Fulcrum Publishing
2016

In 1874, the U.S. Army sent troops to subdue and move the Native Americans of the southern plains to reservations. Brothers of the Buffalo follows Private Washington Vance Jr., an African-American calvaryman, and Wolf, a Cheyenne warrior, during the brief and brutal war that followed. Filled with action and suspense from both sides of the battle, this is a tale of conflict and unlikely friendship in the Wild West.

Cover of This Place: 150 Years Reto
Contributions from Indigenous Authors
and Illustrators
Highwater Press
2019

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this graphic novel anthology. These stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Cover of The Marrow Thieves
Cheri
Dimaline
Dancing Cat Books
2017

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands.

Cover of An Indigenous Peoples’ H
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and adapted by
Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese
Beacon Press
2019

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism. Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.

Cover of Give Me Some Truth
Eric
Gansworth
Arthur A. Levin Books
2018

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. A rock band -- and winning Battle of the Bands -- is his best shot. But things keep getting in the way. Small matters like the lack of an actual band, or his brother getting shot by the racist owner of a local restaurant. Maggi Bokoni has just moved back to the reservation with her family. She's dying to stop making the same traditional artwork her family sells to tourists (conceptual stuff is cooler), stop feeling out of place in her new (old) home, and stop being treated like a child. She might like to fall in love for the first time too.

Cover of #NotYourPrincess: Voices o
Mary Beth Leatherdale and
Lisa Charleyboy
Annick Press Ltd
2017

#NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

Cover of Standing Strong
Gary
Robinson
7th Generation
2019

After a failed suicide attempt, seventeen-year-old Rhonda Runningcrane is inspired to help a crew protesting against an oil company running a pipeline through sacred Native land in North Dakota. An inspiring Native elder at the camp takes Rhonda under her wing, and the girl begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

Cover of Hearts Unbroken
Cynthia Leitich
Smith
Candlewick Press
2018

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over email. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town.

Cover of Surviving the City Vol. 1
Tasha
Spillett-Sumner
Natasha Donovan
2018

Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?

Cover of Fire Starters
Jen
Storm
Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk
Highwater Press
2016

Looking for a little mischief after finding an old flare gun, Ron and Ben find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are wrongly accused of arson by the sheriff's son. As the investigation goes forward, community attitudes are revealed, and the truth slowly comes to light.

Cover of A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1
Katherena
Vermette
Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk
Highwater Press
2017

Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl adjusting to a new home and school, is struggling with loneliness while separated from her mother. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.