Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is celebrated in November.  It is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of the Native American people.

The library has books, movies, and other resources for looking to learn more about the Native American communities.

Movies available for streaming via Kanopy

Native Americans in Film and Documentaries 

Young Lakota

“In this award-winning documentary, Cecilia Fire Thunder- the first female President of the Oglala Sioux tribe, defies a proposed South Dakota law criminalizing all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest, by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation. She ignites a political firestorm that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of three young Lakotas on the Pine Ridge Reservation, forcing each of them to make choices that define who they are and the kind of adults they will become.”

By Blood

“A chronicle of American Indians of African descent battling to regain their tribal citizenship. BY BLOOD explores the impact of this battle, which has manifested into a broader conflict about race, identity, and the sovereign rights of indigenous people.”

We Breathe Again

“For millennia, Alaska Native peoples thrived in the seasonally harsh conditions of life in the far north. They depended upon strong social, cultural and spiritual practices passed from generation to generation.

In the last century, rapid and forced changes in the life ways of Alaska Native peoples created many complex, painful scars for Elders who experienced them, and for their children’s children. In a landscape as dramatic as its stories, WE BREATHE AGAIN intimately explores the lives of four Alaska Native people, each confronting the impacts of inter-generational trauma and suicide.”

A Good Day to Die

“A GOOD DAY TO DIE chronicles a movement that started a revolution and inspired a nation. By recounting the life story of Dennis Banks, the Native American who co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968 to advocate and protect the rights of American Indians, the film provides an in-depth look at the history and issues surrounding AIM’s formation. From the forced assimilation of Native Americans within boarding schools, to discrimination by law enforcement authorities, to neglect by government officials responsible for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, AIM sought redress for the many grievances that its people harbored.”

Books Available our OverDrive Collection

Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy by Ernie LaPointe

“Ernie LaPointe, born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, is a great-grandson of the famous Hunkpapa Lakota chief Sitting Bull, and in this book, the first by one of Sitting Bull’s lineal descendants, he presents the family tales and memories told to him about his great-grandfather. LaPointe not only recounts the rich oral history of his family—the stories of Sitting Bull’s childhood, his reputation as a fierce warrior, his growth into a sage and devoted leader of his people, and the betrayal that led to his murder—but also explains what it means to be Lakota in the time of Sitting Bull and now.”

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

“In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes’ distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don’t know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.”

The American Indian Rights Movement by Eric Braun

“What do you know about the American Indian rights movement? You may have heard about modern pipeline protests, but this resistance has its roots in the early years of the United States, when the government began stripping American Indians of their rights and forcing them off their lands onto reservations. What are the main concerns of the American Indian rights movement today? What challenges have activists faced throughout history? Find out about how important players like Sacheen Littlefeather and Russell Means paved the way for current activists and discover how activists are still fighting for better living conditions and environmental justice today.

There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange

“One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering bestselling novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.”


Books Available our Print Catalog


Spirit run : a 6,000-mile marathon through North America’s stolen land by Noé Álvarez

“At 19, Noé Álvarez signed up for a four-month long-distance run that would take him from Canada to Guatemala alongside runners from Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya backgrounds. Spirit Run contains Álvarez’s reflections on the privations of endurance running, as well as on the Indigenous, Latinx, and immigrant peoples and stories intrinsic to the American national narrative, but rarely represented. A beautiful fusion of sports, nature, culture, and travel writing and memoir, Spirit Run is not to be missed..”

The Only Good Indians: A Novel by Stephen Graham Jones

“Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.”

Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac

“In 1932, twelve-year-old Cal must stop being a hobo with his father and go to a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, where he begins learning about his history and heritage as a Creek Indian”

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

“This story, set on an Indian reservation just after World War II, concerns the return home of a war-weary Navaho young man. Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo’s quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions-despair. “Demanding but confident and beautifully written” (Boston Globe), this is the story of a young Native American returning to his reservation after surviving the horrors of captivity as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. Drawn to his Indian past and its traditions, his search for comfort and resolution becomes a ritual–a curative ceremony that defeats his despair..”

Rabbit’s snow dance : a traditional Iroquois story by James Bruchac and Joseph Bruchac

“A long-tailed rabbit who wants a nibble of the highest, tastiest leaves uses his special snow song in the summertime, despite the protests of the other animals.”

We are grateful. Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

“Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee words are included throughout, presented both phonetically and written in the Cherokee syllabary.”

Online Resources:

Native American Heritage Month-

National Congress of American Indians

National American Indian Heritage Month- Library of Congress

Native American Heritage Month- PBS

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