Indigenous Wisdom

November is Native American Heritage Month and in exploring our American story in the Pacific Northwest I asked myself what relationship I’ve had with indigenous peoples in my own region.

At a young age I knew of the Duwamish tribe because of my grandmother’s relationship with Cecile Hansen. “For over 30 years, Cecile Hansen has been the elected chair of the Duwamish Tribe. Cecile Hansen is the great great grandniece of Chief Si’ahl’.” Some days I would find them chatting in my grandmother’s dining room after school and as I got older I asked Cecile if she would be a guest speaker at my high school shortly after they got recognition under the Clinton administration and then had that recognition revoked under the Bush administration. She showed us her tribe’s frustration, their strength, and their history in this region – not of the city that was built, but of a time before. Their land, their wisdom, and their relentless spirit that continues to say we’re still here.

Here are a few books in our collection by indigenous authors that highlights their wisdom, their spirit, and their deep connections to the land.

Continue reading “Indigenous Wisdom”

A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time designated to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions – historical and ongoing – of American Indians and Alaska Natives. You can check out a booklist of novels by Native American authors published in the past five years in our catalog. Highlighted here are three outstanding novels from 2018.

Book cover image for Where the Dead Sit TalkingWhere the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson is narrated by Sequoyah as he looks back on 1989, the year he was 15. That year, after his mother is sent to jail on a drug charge, Sequoyah finds himself in foster care with the Troutts, alongside another Native American foster kid, Rosemary. He reflects back on his friendship with Rosemary, the strangeness of that time, and the way it contributed to who he became. A masterful coming-of-age novel. Shortlisted for the National Book Award. Continue reading “A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month”

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month through poetry

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 poets to read in celebration, both this month and all year; you can also find this list in our catalog. Or check out the much more comprehensive list at the Poetry Foundation; or Sherman Alexie’s 2013 list of Top 10 Native American poets. Continue reading “Celebrate Native American Heritage Month through poetry”

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.

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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. Continue reading “Celebrate Native American Heritage Month Through Fiction”