In celebration and commemoration of Indigenous People's Day, here are several, selected books and resources you can read about the history and narratives of indigenous people specifically the United States.
In 1631, when the Dutch tried to develop plantation agriculture in the Delaware Valley, the Lenape Indians destroyed the colony of Swanendael and killed its residents. The Natives and Dutch quickly negotiated peace, avoiding an extended war through diplomacy and trade. The Lenapes preserved their political sovereignty for the next fifty years as Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, and English colonists settled the Delaware Valley. The European outposts did not approach the size and strength of those in Virginia, New England, and New Netherland. Even after thousands of Quakers arrived in West New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the late 1670s and '80s, the region successfully avoided war for another seventy-five years. Lenape Country is a sweeping narrative history of the multiethnic society of the Delaware Valley in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. After Swanendael, the Natives, Swedes, and Finns avoided war by focusing on trade and forging strategic alliances in such events as the Dutch conquest, the Mercurius affair, the Long Swede conspiracy, and English attempts to seize land. Drawing on a wide range of sources, author Jean R. Soderlund demonstrates that the hallmarks of Delaware Valley society--commitment to personal freedom, religious liberty, peaceful resolution of conflict, and opposition to hierarchical government--began in the Delaware Valley not with Quaker ideals or the leadership of William Penn but with the Lenape Indians, whose culture played a key role in shaping Delaware Valley society. The first comprehensive account of the Lenape Indians and their encounters with European settlers before Pennsylvania's founding, Lenape Country places Native culture at the center of this part of North America.
“Grandchildren meet their grandparents at the end,” Denise Low says, “as tragic figures. We remember their decline and deaths.... The story we see as grandchildren is like a garden covered by snow, just outlines visible.” Low brings to light deeply held secrets of Native ancestry as she recovers the life story of her Kansas grandfather, Frank Bruner (1889–1963). She remembers her childhood in Kansas, where her grandparents remained at a distance, personally and physically, from their grandchildren, despite living only a few miles away. As an adult, she comes to understand her grandfather's Delaware (Lenape) legacy of persecution and heroic survival in the southern plains of the early 1900s, where the Ku Klux Klan attacked Native people along with other ethnic minorities. As a result of such experiences, the Bruner family fled to Kansas City and suppressed their non-European ancestry as completely as possible. As Low unravels this hidden family history of the Lenape diaspora, she discovers the lasting impact of trauma and substance abuse, the deep sense of loss and shame related to suppressed family emotions, and the power of collective memory. Low traveled extensively around Kansas, tracking family history until she understood her grandfather's political activism and his healing heritage of connections to the land. In this moving exploration of her grandfather's life, the former poet laureate of Kansas evokes the beauty of the Flint Hills grasslands, the hardships her grandfather endured, and the continued discovery of his teachings.
Publication Date: Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press. 2018
Although the canon of nineteenth-century Native American writers represents rich literary expression, it derives generally from a New England perspective. Equally rich and rare poetry, songs, and storytelling were produced farther west by Indians residing on the Southern Plains. When Dream Bear Sings is a multidisciplinary, diversified, multicultural anthology that includes English translations accompanied by analytic and interpretive text outlines by leading scholars of eight major language groups of the Southern Plains: Iroquoian, Uto-Aztecan, Caddoan, Siouan, Algonquian, Kiowa-Tanoan, Athabaskan, and Tonkawa. These indigenous language families represent Indian nations and tribal groups across the Southern Plains of the United States, many of whom were exiled from their homelands east of the Mississippi River to settlements in Kansas and Oklahoma by the Indian Removal Act of the 1830s. Although indigenous culture groups on the Southern Plains are complex and diverse, their character traits are easily identifiable in the stories of their oral traditions, and some of the most creative and unique expressions of the human experience in the Americas appear in this book. Gus Palmer Jr. brings together a volume that not only updates old narratives but also enhances knowledge of indigenous culture through a modern generation's familiarity with new, evolving theories and methodologies regarding verbal art performance.
As American Indian writers frequently remind their readers, storytellers wield formidable power to affect the earth and its inhabitants. This is the medicine power that inheres in tribal expression such as chants, prayers, and ceremonial rituals. Leslie Marmon Silko innovates literary genres to create a uniquely effective medicine power. When Silko's Storyteller first appeared in 1981, critics were baffled by this complex text. Today it is a canonical work in the study of American Indian literature. The essays collected in this book, addressing both the original edition of Storyteller and the 2012 revision, use the growth of understanding of Native American literature in general and of Silko's work in particular to unpack this fascinating work and its critical reception over the years.
Publication Date: Oxford : Oxford University Press. 2008
The fifteen Native women writers in Reckonings document transgenerational trauma, yet they also celebrate survival. Their stories are vital testaments of our times. Unlike most anthologies that present a single story from many writers, this volume offers a sampling of two to three stories by a select number of both famous and lesser known Native women writers in what is now the United States. Here you will find much-loved stories, many made easily accessible for the first time, and vibrant new stories by well-known contemporary Native American writers as well as fresh emergent voices. These stories share an understanding of Native women's lives in their various modes of loss and struggle, resistance and acceptance, and rage and compassion, ultimately highlighting the individual and collective will to endure against all odds. Reckonings features short stories by: Paula Gunn Allen, Kimberly M. Blaeser, Beth E. Brant, Anita Endrezze, Louise Erdrich, Diane Glancy, Reid Gómez, Janet Campbell Hale, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Misha Nogha, Beth H. Piatote, Patricia Riley, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Anna Lee Walters.
Based on the extraordinary life of Louis Erdrich's grandfather Patrick Gourneau, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, with lightness and gravity, and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a literary master. Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel-bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new "emancipation" bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn't about freedom: Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a "termination" that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans "for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run"? Since graduating from high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that pays barely enough to support her mother and younger brother. Patrice's alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children, and to bully Patrice for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn't been in touch in months and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence and endangers her life. Thomas and Patrice live in a reservation community. We also come to know young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother, Juggie Blue, and Patrice's best friend, Valentine, as well as Hay Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice. In The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires and ambitions, of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. -- From dust jacket
You won't find a more hardcore eighties-slasher-film fan than high school senior Jade Daniels. And you won't find a place less supportive of girls who wear torn T-shirts and too much eyeliner than Proofrock, nestled eight thousand feet up a mountain in Idaho, alongside Indian Lake, home to both Camp Blood--site of a massacre fifty years ago--and, as of this summer, Terra Nova, a second-home celebrity Camelot being carved out of a national forest. That's not the only thing that's getting carved up, though--this, Jade knows, is the start of a slasher. But what kind? Who's wearing the mask? Jade's got an encyclopedic recall of every horror movie on the self, but...will that help her survive? Can she get a final girl trained enough to stop all this from happening? Does she even want to? Isn't a slasher exactly what her hometown deserves? This new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones, called "one of our most talented living writers" by Tommy Orange, explores the changing landscape of this West through his distinct voice of sharp humor and prophetic violence. Go up the mountain to Proofrock. See if you 've got what it takes--see if your heart, too, might be a chainsaw. -- From dust jacket.Protected by horror movies -- especially the ones where the masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them, Jade Daniels, an angry, half-Indian outcast, pulls us into her dark mind when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian lake-- Novelist.
Summary"Not since Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine has such a powerful and urgent Native American voice exploded onto the landscape of contemporary fiction. Tommy Orange's There There introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career. "We all came to the powwow for different reasons. The messy, dangling threads of our lives got pulled into a braid--tied to the back of everything we'd been doing all along to get us here. There will be death and playing dead, there will be screams and unbearable silences, forever-silences, and a kind of time-travel, at the moment the gunshots start, when we look around and see ourselves as we are, in our regalia, and something in our blood will recoil then boil hot enough to burn through time and place and memory. We'll go back to where we came from, when we were people running from bullets at the end of that old world. The tragedy of it all will be unspeakable, that we've been fighting for decades to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant, only to die in the grass wearing feathers." Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame in Oakland. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work the powwow and to honor his uncle's memory. Edwin Frank has come to find his true father. Bobby Big Medicine has come to drum the Grand Entry. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather; Orvil has taught himself Indian dance through YouTube videos, and he has come to the Big Oakland Powwow to dance in public for the very first time. Tony Loneman is a young Native American boy whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Powwow with darker intentions--intentions that will destroy the lives of everyone in his path. Fierce, angry, funny, groundbreaking--Tommy Orange's first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut"-- Provided by publisher.