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Indeed, native American authors have written many books about their unique views, experiences, and culture. American writers’ books are a great way to learn about American Indian history, spirituality, and culture.
Nonetheless, native American writers can teach readers about colonization, displacement, and cultural appropriation. These tales reveal Native American culture and the strength of its people.
Memoirs, fiction, poems, and nonfiction by Native Americans abound. Many Native American authors write about their lives, incorporating them into their people’s tales. Their works show Native American life and balance mainstream media tales.
For you, here is the best native American books list that should be on every list of books to read. Through these books, readers can learn about the culture and experiences of Native Americans, grow as people, and gain a better understanding and appreciation of them.
20 Best Books By Native American Authors
Book 1: “The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
Undoubtedly, it is a funny, heartwarming, and insightful coming-of-age story about a young Native American boy named Junior. The book follows Junior leaving his reservation to attend an all-white high school in a nearby town. The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a poignant tale that aligns with the themes explored in 10 best books on Native American history to learn, providing a deeper understanding of Native American experiences. Throughout the book, Junior grapples with his identity and struggles to navigate the complex world of adolescence. He is torn between his love for his community and his desire to seek new opportunities and experiences. Alexie’s writing is funny and relatable, capturing the humor and heartache of growing up. The book deals with important themes such as racism, poverty, and the impact of colonialism on Native communities.
Book 2: “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
“The Round House” is a novel by Louise Erdrich that follows the story of Joe Coutts, a 13-year-old Ojibwe boy living on a reservation in North Dakota. When his mother is brutally attacked, and the legal system fails to bring the perpetrator to justice, Joe takes it upon himself to seek revenge. The book explores justice, trauma, and the complexities of life on a Native American reservation. Erdrich’s writing is vivid and immersive, bringing to life the harsh realities and unique beauty of reservation life.
Book 3: “There There” by Tommy Orange
“There There” is a novel by Tommy Orange that weaves together the stories of 12 Native American characters living in Oakland, California, as they prepare to attend a powwow. The book explores themes of identity, connection to heritage, and the impact of historical trauma on contemporary Native communities. Orange’s writing is poetic and reflective, creating a vivid portrait of the complexities of Native American life in an urban setting. The novel is an influential meditation on the struggle to find a sense of belonging in a world that often ignores and marginalizes Native voices.
Book 4: “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon.
In Silko, Tayo, a young Native American veteran who served in World War II, comes home after being away. Tayo finds it hard to fit in and get over the trauma he went through in the war. The book discusses identity, tradition, and how colonialism changed Native American communities. Silko’s writing is strong and poetic. He mixes old stories with the harsh realities of modern life.
Book 5: “House Made of Dawn,” by N. Scott Momaday.
This book is about Abel, a young Native American man who goes to war in World War II and then returns to his reservation in New Mexico. House Made of Dawn aligns well with the cultural insights offered in how to be a good American essay, enriching the understanding of Native American perspectives. Abel has difficulty getting used to life on the reservation and figuring out where he fits. The book discusses identity, tradition, and how colonialism changed Native American communities. Momaday’s writing is poetic and evocative. It shows how beautiful and complicated Native American culture is. The first Native American novel to win the Pulitzer Prize was “House Made of Dawn.”
Book 6: “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
“The Round House” is about a 13-year-old Native American boy named Joe Coutts, whose mother is killed in a brutal attack on their North Dakota reservation. The book looks at justice, family, and community through the eyes of Joe and his father as they try to make sense of the complicated legal and social systems that affect their lives. Erdrich’s writing is strong and full of emotion. It pulls the reader into Joe’s world and shows the struggles Native Americans face in modern society.
Book 7: “The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie’s semi-autobiographical book “The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” tells the story of Junior, a young Native American boy who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington State. The book talks about identity, belonging, and how hard it is for Native American teens to figure out how to live in both their traditional culture and the modern world. Alexie’s writing is funny and sad at the same time. It captures the raw feelings of adolescence and the complicated truths of life on a reservation.
Book 8: “There There,” by Tommy Orange
The book is about a group of Native Americans in Oakland, California, getting ready for a powwow. This is a powerful book. The book talks about identity, history, and the problems that Native Americans face in today’s urban world. Orange’s writing is poetic and realistic, capturing the beauty and struggle of the characters’ lives.
Book 9: “Winter in the Blood,” by James Welch
The book takes place on the Montana Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. It tells the story of Virgil, a young Native American man trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in the world. The book discusses loss, trauma, and how important it is to stay connected to one’s roots. Welch’s writing is raw and emotional, which pulls the reader into Virgil’s world and his search for meaning. People have said that the book shows how life is on the reservation and how complicated it is to be a Native American.
Book 10: “Winter in the Blood” by James Welch
James Welch’s book “Winter in the Blood” is about a young Native American man named Virgil First Raise. The book takes place on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. It looks at identity, cultural displacement, and the struggle to find a purpose in life. Virgil is a troubled man who drinks too much and feels disconnected from his past. His journey leads him to look for his missing father and learn more about his origins. Through Virgil’s life, the book looks at the problems that Native Americans face in modern society, such as poverty, racism, and losing their culture. Welch’s writing is poetic and realistic, giving a clear picture of life on the reservation and its people’s struggles. “Winter in the Blood” is a powerful look at what it means to be Native American and a testament to the human spirit’s strength.
Book 11: “The Way to Rainy Mountain” by N. Scott Momaday
In the book, Momaday tells traditional stories, talks about his own life, and talks about the past. This makes for a beautiful and immersive reading experience. His writing is poetic and full of details that paint a picture of the Kiowa people’s rich culture and traditions.
Book 12: “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich
The book discusses what it means to be Native American, activism, and how colonialism hurt Native American communities. Erdrich’s writing is strong and wise, showing how hard life is right now for Native Americans.
Book 13: “The Woman Who Married a Bear” by John Straley
Younger is hired to discover what happened to a missing woman in Alaska. As he does this, he learns about the complicated traditions and identities of the Native Americans. Straley’s writing is detailed and interesting, taking readers through the harsh Alaskan wilderness.
Book 14: “The Surrounded” by D’Arcy McNickle
The book looks at the problems that Native Americans face as they try to keep their traditional ways of life while also dealing with the stresses of modern life. McNickle’s writing is personal and poetic, showing what life is like in Native American communities. McNickle tries to show in his writing how colonialism changed the culture of Native Americans and how hard it is for people to live on reservations.
Book 15: “Almanac of the Dead” by Leslie Marmon Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko’s book “Almanac of the Dead” is about the lives of Native Americans in Tucson, Arizona. The book talks about who Native American groups are and what their cultures are like, as well as how colonization changed them. Silko’s writing is ambitious and tries to do a lot. She uses stories from her own life, history, and from mythology to make a powerful and immersive reading experience.
Book 16: “The Lesser Blessed” by Richard Van Camp
In “The Lesser Blessed,” the main character is Larry Sole, a young Native American boy who lives in the Northwest Territories in the small town of Fort Simmer. The book discusses identity, belonging, and the problems Native American teens face today. Van Camp’s writing is raw and emotional, capturing the pain and confusion of adolescence and the search for meaning in a hard world.
Book 17: “Meditations After the Bear Feast” by Craig Santos Perez
Craig Santos Perez’s “Meditations After the Bear Feast” is a collection of poems about identity, history, and how colonialism affected Pacific Islander communities. The book combines personal stories, stories from history, and myths to make a powerful and immersive reading experience. Perez’s writing is vivid and poetic. It shows how beautiful and complicated Pacific Islander culture is.
Book 18: “Bird Songs Don’t Lie” by Gordon Henry
Jr.’s book “Bird Songs Don’t Lie” is about a Native American man named T.S. McKinney, who has lived in the city and then moved back to his Michigan reservation. The book discusses Native American communities’ identities and traditions and how colonization changed them. The things Henry writes are wise and make you think. It shows how his characters struggle inside as they deal with life’s problems on the reservation.
Book 19: “Custer Died for Your Sins” by Vine Deloria Jr.
Vine Deloria Jr.’s nonfiction book “Custer Died for Your Sins” is about the history of Native American activism and the problems that Native communities in the U.S. have faced, further contextualized by exploring what is a claim in writing: tips for writing perfect claims, enhancing the understanding of the narrative’s historical and cultural significance. The book debunks the myth of the “disappearing Indian” and shows how Native Americans have fought for their rights and independence for thousands of years. Deloria’s writing is interesting and easy to understand, making it easier to understand ideas and historical events that are hard to understand.
Book 20: “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko
In “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko, Tayo, a young Native American man, returns to his New Mexico reservation after serving in World War II. The book talks about the identities and traditions of Native American groups, as well as how colonization changed them. Silko’s writing is lyrical and poetic. She mixes traditional stories and cultural beliefs with a strong and emotional story. People think of “Ceremony” as a classic of modern Native American literature, and anyone who wants to learn about the lives and struggles of Native people in the United States should read it.
Who was the first Native American Author to write a book?
William Apess, a Pequot writer, is believed to be the first Native American author to write a book. In 1829, he wrote “A Son of the Forest: The Experience of William Apess, a Native of the Forest,” chronicling his experiences as a Native American in the early 19th century. Apess was a prominent figure in the early Native American rights movement and used his writing to advocate for greater recognition and respect for Native Americans.
Who are the greatest Native American authors?
Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, and Vine Deloria Jr. are among the most prominent Native American authors. They have contributed significantly to Native American literature and have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades.
What was the first book by Native Americans?
The first book written by a Native American is believed to be “A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison” (1824), written by James E. Seaver. The book tells the story of Mary Jemison, a white woman captured and adopted by the Seneca tribe during the French and Indian war.
How much did the book cost at that time?
The price of a book was affected by how well-known it was, who published it, and how it was written (hardcover or paperback). Most of the time, hardcover books cost more than paperbacks. In the early 1900s, the average book price was about $1 to $2, which is about $30 to $60 in today’s money.
How much does a book cost now?
Today books are sold through retail and online, not door-to-door. The cost of a book in the U.S. can vary widely depending on the book’s format, genre, length, and other factors. However, digital era, online selling has reduced the On average, a paperback book might cost around $10-$20, while a hardcover book could cost around $20-$30 or more. E-books may be cheaper, with prices typically ranging from $0.99 to $9.99. However, prices can vary greatly depending on the specific book and retailer.
Why do you need to read Native American books?
Indeed, reading Native American books can provide insight into the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and experiences of Native American people. It can also help to broaden our perspectives and challenge our assumptions about the world. By reading Native American books, we can learn about the struggles and triumphs of these communities and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their unique perspectives.
Which one native American novels for young adults?
Some popular Native American novels for young adults include “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, “Code Talker” by Joseph Bruchac, “Crazy Horse Electric Game” by Chris Crutcher, and “Indian Horse” by Richard Wagamese. These books address themes of identity, culture, and history in a way that is accessible and engaging for young readers.
In conclusion, the variety and depth of Native American literature, as seen in these 20 notable books, align well with the broader perspectives shared in 15 best books on stoicism for beginners, which also delve into profound philosophical themes, books written by Native American authors are a great way to learn about the history, spirituality, and way of life of Native Americans in the United States. By reading these books, people can learn about the complicated problems that indigenous people face, such as colonization, displacement, and the loss of their culture. Native American writers write in a wide range of styles and genres. This shows what it’s like to be Native American and gives a different point of view to stories that are usually told.
However, the 20 Navajo books in this article are just a small part of the large and varied body of literature written by Native American authors, and everyone should read them. People can grow as people, understand and appreciate Native Americans more, and learn more about their culture and experiences by reading these books.
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