Books are a great way to connect with the lives and experiences of Indigenous Americans. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we’ve rounded up eight popular novels – all by Indigenous writers – that focus on modern-day Indigenous people.
For more e-books and audiobooks, browse the Native American Heritage Month shelf on cloudLibrary.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This National Book Award winner (and frequently challenged/banned book) follows Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend high school in an all-white farm town. The book is heavily inspired by Sherman Alexie’s own story and features drawings from Ellen Forney that capture the coming of age of a Native American boy.
Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
This novel, told in a series of voices, introduces us to Ever Geimausaddle through the perspectives of his family. Although Ever’s relatives have ideas about how he should live his life, he must find his own place in a world that never gave him one to begin with. Oscar Hokeah is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline
This page-turner was inspired by the traditional Métis story of a werewolf-like creature called the Rogarou. Joan’s husband Victor disappeared one night after a serious argument, sending Joan on a year-long search to find him. But when she stumbles upon Victor in a revival tent and he insists he’s not her husband, Joan has to find a way to remind him of his identity – if he really is Victor, anyway. Cherie Dimaline is a registered and active member of the Georgian Bay Métis Community.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Fueled by her obsession with horror movies, Jade often lives in her own world. But when blood is spilled in Indian Lake, she must use her encyclopedic knowledge of horror movies to predict how the plot will unfold. Because horror movies are predictable – right? This haunting book by Blackfoot Native American author Stephen Graham Jones is just one of his unforgettable horror novels.
Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson
After being given up for adoption as a baby, Ruby was raised by a white couple who don’t fully grasp her Indigenous heritage. In this debut novel by a Métis and Cree writer, Ruby goes in search of her people and the missing pieces of her identity.
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
In the wake of a tragic shooting that claimed their son, Ray-Ray, the Echota family has been lost in their grief. As they get closer to their annual bonfire that marks both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, each member of the family encounters a strange blurring between our reality and the spirit world. Brandon Hobson is a National Book Award finalist and an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma.
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich’s latest novel captures the soul of a city during a year of grief and isolation. Tookie sells books at a small indie bookstore in Minneapolis – a bookstore haunted by the store’s most annoying customer, that is. Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe (Chippewa) nation.
Winter Counts by David L. Weiden
Virgil is the enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which is plagued by heroin that has found its way onto the reservation and to his own nephew. After enlisting a little help, Virgil sets out to determine where the drugs came from and how to keep them out of his home. David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation.