A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart
Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth
The term “apple” is a slur in Native communities, indicating someone “red on the outside, white on the inside.” Eric Gansworth is telling his story. The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she is thrust into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Little Big Bully by Heid E. Erdrich
Poet, artist, filmmaker and curator Heid E. Erdrich explores the indigenous experience in multifaceted ways—personal, familial, biological and cultural. These poems, written from the perspective of an Ojibwe woman, reveal what sustained harassment does to people, especially to women, children and Native and Indigenous people, how it can lead to the oppression of others and even ourselves and how experiencing misogyny and sexual abuse can make a person vulnerable to future abuse
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies, especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold. Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges, a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.
Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. In her second poetry collection, Deiz writes of language and land, enemies and lovers, through it all demanding that each be held as beloved. Through her poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness.
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
In the 15 years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world.
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakhota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato-where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
After serving part of an outrageously long sentence, Tookie, who ‘learned to read with murderous attention’ while in prison, naturally gravitates toward working at a bookstore. There she joins a dedicated community of artists and book lovers and begins to build a new life for herself. When Flora, the store’s most persistent customer, suddenly dies, her ghost refuses to leave. Flora returns on All Soul’s Day to haunt the bookstore and in particular, Tookie. Why? The mystery of this revenant’s appearance leads Asema, a fellow Ojibwe bookseller, and Tookie to a shocking personal discovery with historical reverberations.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s own nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.
If you would like to immerse yourself deeper in Native American culture and history, the Field Museum just announced their new Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories exhibit opening up in May 2022.