Native American Heritage Month

November 16, 2020 | By Baltimore County Public Library

Storytelling is integral to indigenous societies. November is Native American Heritage Month and in honor of this nation’s first people and their rich history, here are several titles which continue the tradition of storytelling to explore Native identity and to connect the past with the present. 

Cover of the novel Carry

"Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land" by Toni Jensen
Jensen, a Métis writer and English professor at the University of Arkansas, moves between personal recollections and history in this moving collection of essays. The unifying theme is violence and these powerful essays serve as a reminder of the troubles facing this country and how they were created.

Cover of the novel American Indian Stories

"American Indian Stories" by Zitkala-Sa
Zitkala-Sa grappled with the conflicting influences of American Indian and white culture throughout her life. Raised on a Sioux reservation, she was educated at boarding schools that enforced assimilation and was witness to major events in white-Indian relations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Combining childhood memories, her short stories and her poetry, this is an origin story and the story of the making of an activist. 

Cover of the novel Where the Dead Sit Talking

"Where the Dead Sit Talking" by Brandon Hobson
Set in rural Oklahoma in 1989, this National Book Award Finalist is the coming-of-age story of Sequoya, a 15-year-old Cherokee who had a difficult childhood due to his mother's substance abuse. With his mother in jail, he is taken in as a foster child by the Troutts and quickly forms a connection with their other foster child, Rosemary, a 17-year-old fellow Native American and artist with her own unpleasant past.

Cover of the novel An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States

"An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
In this groundbreaking work, Dunbar-Ortiz challenges the founding myth central to United States history and reflects on the colonist policies against the indigenous peoples. The genocidal policy was at its height under President Andrew Jackson and the depths of its depravity are best encapsulated by U.S. Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles, “the country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”

Cover of the novel There There

"There, There" by Tommy Orange
Set in Oakland,  Orange's debut follows the intersecting lives of 12 contemporary Native Americans as they prepare for the Big Oakland Powwow. In an interview about this novel, Orange noted, "I wanted to find a way to portray the way Natives experience history, and I wanted to find a way to do it in a compelling and, again, readable way.”

Category: Collection and Materials