Resources for Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day
October 4, 2023
In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, the Drexel University Libraries is celebrating works by Indigenous writers and artists. Check out these book recommendations for all ages—from fiction, biographies, and non-fiction to stories for young adults and children’s books.
Be reminded: this list is just a starting point. There is so much more to explore. Along with the titles included below, the Drexel Libraries provides access to many other resources and databases, accessible to all members of the Drexel community:
A collection of ethnic, minority, and Indigenous newspapers, magazines, and journals published in America. Includes the full text of over 50 newspapers and magazines, including Akwesasne Notes, American Indian Quarterly, and many more. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the resource is the inclusion of unique community publications not found in any other database, as well as top scholarly journals on ethnicities and ethnic studies.
Non-Fiction & Biographies
By: Phoebe Ann Pollitt
Focusing on the careers and contributions of dozens of African American and Eastern Band Cherokee registered nurses, this first comprehensive study of minority nurses in Appalachia documents the quality of health care for minorities in the region during the Jim Crow era. Racial segregation in health care and education and state and federal policies affecting health care for Native Americans are examined in depth.
By: Eric Gansworth
The term "Apple" is a slur in Native communities across the country. It's for someone supposedly "red on the outside, white on the inside." In Apple (Skin to the Core), Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family—of Onondaga among Tuscaroras—of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds, Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.
By: Brianna Theobald
The first book-length history of reproduction that centers [on] Native American women, Reproduction on the Reservation documents the transformation of reproductive practices on Indian reservations from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first. Relying on extensive archival research as well as oral histories that allow Native women to tell their own stories, this study integrates a local history of childbearing, motherhood, and activism on the Crow Reservation in Montana with an analysis of trends affecting women throughout Indian country.
By: Michelene Pesantubbee & Michael J. Zogry
Native Foodways is the first scholarly collection of essays devoted exclusively to the interplay of Indigenous religious traditions and foodways in North America. Many of the essays demonstrate how narrative and active elements of selected Indigenous North American religious traditions have provided templates for interactive relationships with particular animals and plants, rooted in detailed information about their local environments. In return, these animals and plants have provided these Native American communities with sustenance.
By: Adrienne Keene
Celebrate the lives, stories, and contributions of Indigenous artists, activists, scientists, athletes, and other changemakers in this beautifully illustrated collection. From luminaries of the past, like nineteenth-century sculptor Edmonia Lewis—the first Black and Native American female artist to achieve international fame—to contemporary figures like linguist jessie little doe baird, who revived the Wampanoag language, Notable Native People highlights the vital impact Indigenous dreamers and leaders have made on the world.
Story by Darci Little Badger; Illustrated by Rovina Cai
Young Adult Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe ("Ellie" for short) lives in a slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
By: Cherie Dimaline
Young Adult Fiction
Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are reopened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams. Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his newfound family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape.
By: Isabel Ibanez
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight. When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
Story by: Gloria Amescua; Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community's joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart. But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. Through her work, Luz found a way to preserve her people's culture by sharing her native language, stories, and traditions. Soon, scholars came to learn from her.
By Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu & Joe Wilson; Illustrated by Daniel Sousa
In the 15th century, four Mahu sail from Tahiti to Hawaii and share their gifts of science and healing with the people of Waikiki. The islanders return this gift with a monument of four boulders in their honor, which the Mahu imbue with healing powers before disappearing. As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and the once-sacred stones are forgotten until the 1960s. Though the true story of these stones was not fully recovered, the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass by them at Waikiki Beach today.