Celebrate Native American Heritage Month Through Fiction

National Native American Heritage Month, observed in November, honors the histories, cultures, and contributions – historical and ongoing – of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Here are a few suggestions of novels to read in celebration; or view them as a list in our catalog.


You can’t go wrong reading any book by Washington author Sherman Alexie, but perhaps start with Ten Little Indians, a collection of short stories set in and around the Seattle area.

Chenoo by Joseph Bruchac is a page-turning mystery. Off the coast of Massachusetts a group of Native Americans have taken over an unused state campground, land that was pledged to be returned; two of the protesters are found dead, and PI Jake Neptune investigates.

LaRose is the latest from prolific and popular author Louise Erdrich. When Landreaux Iron accidentally shoots his neighbor’s young son, he reaches back to tradition to find a way forward, giving the family his own young son.

The Dance Boots by Linda LeGarde Grover, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, is a linked collection of short stories about a community on a fictional Ojibwe reservation north of Duluth, Minnesota.

Set in the Vietnam War-era, People of the Whale by Linda Hogan follows a soldier’s return to his community and his efforts to reintegrate into daily life, at the same time that a traditional whale hunt is set to begin.


House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday, winner of the 1968 Pulitzer Prize, also concerns itself with a soldier who feels caught between the world of his family and the world of industrial America, this time set during World War II.

House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle is set in late 1800s Oklahoma, as white settlers arrive and clash with the existing Choctaw community. Kirkus reviews called it a “lyrical, touching tale of love and family, compassion and forgiveness.”

In Gardens in the Dunes Leslie Marmon Silko writes beautifully about connection with nature and place as she tells the story of two sisters, among the last of their southwestern tribe, as they are split up and adopted out to white families.

The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band by Frances Washburn follows a country western band through a series of gigs in 1969 on-and-off the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, as a young Lakota woman begins her journey to becoming an elder.

In Fools Crow James Welch writes a fictionalized portrait of a tribe of Blackfeet Indians in Montana following the Civil War as individuals deal with both the aggression of neighboring tribes and the incursion of white settlers. Welch beautifully brings to life their daily lifestyle.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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