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Resilient and Enduring: A Reading List for Native American Heritage Month

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Native American speaker with his father and a drum. December 8, 2016.
Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Native American speaker with his father and a drum. December 8, 2016. Photo credit: Rob87438

Two things come to mind this Native American Heritage Month. Compared to whites, Native Americans have been hit hard with a higher percentage of COVID cases, not to mention severe COVID outcomes. On the flip side, voters of Indigenous descent in states like Arizona helped swing the vote in favor of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. (You’re fired, despotic Cheeto!) Their perseverance and commitment to a democracy that frequently forgets them attest to this year’s theme—Resilient and Enduring: We Are Native People. These titles from our catalog attest to this year’s theme, too!

Among the biggest takeaways—and there really should not be so many—from enduring an administration that enabled white supremacy and white-centric narratives about this nation is how important it is that today’s children learn to always talk about Native Americans in the present tense. Never in the past tense. And not just today’s children, but everyone. These books will make sure of that.


All the Real Indians Died Off

“All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

‘All the Real Indians Died Off’ And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans offers a much-needed and excellent introduction to American Indian history and contemporary life for a broad audience.”
Against the Current


As Long As Grass Grows

As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock
Dina Gilio-Whitaker

As Long as Grass Grows is a hallmark book of our time. By confronting climate change from an Indigenous perspective, not only does Gilio-Whitaker look at the history of Indigenous resistance to environmental colonization, but she points to a way forward beyond Western conceptions of environmental justice—toward decolonization as the only viable solution.”
—Nick Estes, author of Our History Is the Future


The Broken Spears

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico
Edited by Miguel León-Portilla

“A moving and powerful account, a unique reading experience which should not be missed by any reader interested in history.”
Los Angeles Times


How Does It Feel to Be Unwanted

How Does It Feel to Be Unwanted?: Stories of Resistance and Resilience from Mexicans Living in the United States
Eileen Truax

“An urgent book for our times. When immigrant voices are being silenced, when immigrant families are being torn apart, when immigrant youth are being denied their right to dream of a better future, this book inspires us to see, to listen, and to understand.”
—Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us


An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

“This may well be the most important US history book you will read in your lifetime. . . . Dunbar-Ortiz radically reframes US history, destroying all foundation myths to reveal a brutal settler-colonial structure and ideology designed to cover its bloody tracks.  Here, rendered in honest, often poetic words, is the story of those tracks and the people who survived—bloodied but unbowed. Spoiler alert: the colonial era is still here, and so are the Indians.”
Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams


An Indigenous Peoples History of the US for Young People

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese

“There is much to commend here: the lack of sugar-coating, the debunking of origin stories, the linking between ideology and actions, the well-placed connections between events past and present, the quotes from British colonizers and American presidents that leave no doubt as to their violent intentions . . . . The resistance continues, and this book urges all readers to consider their own roles, whether as bystanders or upstanders.”
Booklist, Starred Review


The Radiant Lives of Animals

The Radiant Lives of Animals
Linda Hogan

“Words for healing.”
—Joy Harjo


The Water Defenders

The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed
Robin Broad and John Cavanagh

“When the story of the courageous Salvadoran people came to my ears, I was full of pride and hope. Indigenous peoples everywhere are fighting for their water, and enlightened governments are valuing water over foreign corporate control. Our work in the Great Lakes, home to a fifth of the world’s water, is a parallel struggle, and we are inspired by the people from the south—the Eagle and the Condor meet again. Water protectors are the heroes of all time, and this book honors those epic battles.”
—Winona LaDuke, executive director, Honor the Earth, and author of To Be a Water Protector

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington DC