I want to read more Native American authors.
July 7, 2018 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Recently read There There by Tommy Orange and LOVED it. I now want to read more Native American voices - old, contemporary, fiction, poetry, non fiction. Anything. PS: I’m familiar with Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie. I have Zitkála-Šá’s American Indian Stories on my kindle waiting to be read.
posted by dostoevskygirl to Writing & Language (28 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
David Treuer: Little
posted by hydropsyche at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2018

Response by poster: Ooh thank you. *added to my wish list*
posted by dostoevskygirl at 4:50 PM on July 7, 2018

My first one was going to be Louise Erdrich...

Joy Harjo is an amazing poet and writer. (And an interesting musician, and a kind, quiet, intense human.)

Her recent autobiography Crazy Brave is great, she has her own voice but the poignancy of rez life would resonate with anyone who enjoys Louise Erdrich.

Her poetry book She Had Some Horses is lovely and widely appreciated, some of the material became her music albums, and I know she's published a lot more.
posted by mullicious at 4:57 PM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bought but haven't read yet:

The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline. Sci fi and looks really good.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:58 PM on July 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I recently loved Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. She's a Canadian Indigenous author and it's part coming-of-age story, part urban fantasy. At times, it can be bleak and realistic, but overall it's very exuberant and modern, with a snappy sense of humour.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Leslie Marmon Silko. Ceremony was one of the few things I read in a college philosophy class that stuck with me.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

In no particular order:
Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Flint and Feather by E. Pauline Johnson
North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette
Drew Hayden Taylor
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp
Moose Meat & Wild Rice by Basil Johnston
Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel

Graphic Novels
Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane-Benson
Girl Called Echo, Vol 1: Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette
War of the Blink by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:16 PM on July 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

Indigenous Peoples History Of The United States is very, very good.
posted by twoplussix at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have literally just finished Rebecca Roanhorse's Trail of Lightning. Pretty good!
posted by maupuia at 5:45 PM on July 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson has some fantastic books. I like Islands of Decolonial Love and Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:05 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just recently became aware of Joshua Whitehead from his beautiful letter withdrawing his book of poetry full-metal indigiqueer from this year's Lambda Literary Award nominations. He also has a new novel, Johnny Appleseed, that I haven't had a chance to read yet.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:29 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

William Least Heat Moon is one of my favorite authors. His best known (and most beloved by me) book is Blue Highways. I can vouch for his early stuff (mostly travel writing) but I haven't read his recent novel.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Weyodi is a friend of mine and definitely a genius.
posted by potrzebie at 6:35 PM on July 7, 2018

Thomas King. "Green Grass Running Water" I'd my favourite.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:47 PM on July 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

James Welch, The Death of Jim Loney (and others).
posted by googly at 6:52 PM on July 7, 2018

Seconding Thomas King, Eden Robinson, Drew Hayden Taylor, Richard Wagamese. Ruby Slipperjack is also fantastic.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:09 PM on July 7, 2018

And Jeannette Armstrong for poetry.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:09 PM on July 7, 2018

N. Scott Momaday - The Way to Rainy Mountain
posted by spinturtle at 7:44 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Terese Marie Mailhot is First Nations Canadian, but her book Heart Berries is at the top of my to-read list and is purportedly excellent.
posted by gennessee at 7:57 PM on July 7, 2018

Seconding Thomas King, Eden Robinson, and Tomson Highway.
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:44 AM on July 8, 2018

Seconding James Welch. Also Wind From an Enemy Sky by D'Arcy McNickle, and Luci Tapahonso's poetry is really great. Silko's Ceremony, mentioned above, is also really great.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 1:14 AM on July 8, 2018

Thomas King is one of my favorites as well, though as far as his novels go, I greatly preferred Green Grass, Running Water to The Back of the Turtle. His non-fiction The Inconvenient Indian is pretty damn good too.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:51 AM on July 8, 2018

Joseph Bruhac is fairly prolific in his children’s novels. He also recently came out with some YA novels.
posted by donut_princess at 4:35 PM on July 8, 2018

Response by poster: Oh my goodness you guys! Thank you so much for sharing your suggestions. I’ve ordered a couple of books already and the rest are on my Christmas / birthday wish list. THANK YOU.

@donut_princess: Thank You!! I remember reading his poetry but couldn’t remember his name. His ‘Ellis Island’ is wonderful:

Beyond the red brick of Ellis Island
where the two Slovak children
who became my grandparents
waited the long days of quarantine,
after leaving the sickness,
the old Empires of Europe,
a Circle Line ship slips easily
on its way to the island
of the tall woman, green
as dreams of forests and meadows
waiting for those who’d worked
a thousand years
yet never owned their own.

Like millions of others,
I too come to this island,
nine decades the answerer
of dreams.

Yet only part of my blood loves that memory.
Another voice speaks
of native lands
within this nation.
Lands invaded
when the earth became owned.
Lands of those who followed
the changing Moon,
knowledge of the seasons
in their veins.
posted by dostoevskygirl at 1:46 AM on July 9, 2018

Another Canadian: Louise B. Halfe for poetry. Gorgeous stuff.
posted by Amy NM at 6:08 AM on July 9, 2018

Couple more poets with very different styles:

Layli Long Soldier
Tommy Pico
posted by torridly at 10:01 AM on July 9, 2018

The aforementioned novel Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead is excellent. I've also really enjoyed Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

My Indigenous reading leans mostly Canadian. but some novels I've enjoyed recently are:
- Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
- Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
- The Break by Katherena Vermette
- Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
- The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King (and his Inconvenient Indian is also a really good primer on Indigenous issues.
- Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel - this one is an excellent highly readable reference on Indigenous issues in Canada, but a lot of it will be applicable in some way to the Native American population in the US
- A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby is an autobiography by a two-spirit woman that is extremely bleak but paints quite a vivid picture of the challenges of some Indigenous peoples in North American society.

If you like poetry you may enjoy Billy-Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World. He keeps winning more and more awards and recognition for it.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:19 PM on July 10, 2018

What everyone else said above!

But I am very excited to be the one in this thread to say: Stephen Graham Jones! I only came across him literally this week! I just finished Mapping the Interior tonight, and will be working through his entire oeuvre henceforth.

Mapping the Interior is a horror novella. It scared me and also made me cry (separate reasons each).
posted by phonebia at 10:35 PM on July 13, 2018

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