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Our very own librarians have chosen some books to help you learn more about the Indigenous Peoples of America.

We also wanted to share two lists curated by others:

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Adults

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the Unites States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them.

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1491 by Charles Mann

Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city.

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s classic, eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles,

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Killers of the Flower Moon : the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI by David Grann

Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history

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Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

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We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy by Kliph Nesteroff

In We Had a Little Real Estate Problem, acclaimed comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff focuses on one of comedy’s most significant and little-known stories: how, despite having been denied representation in the entertainment industry, Native Americans have influenced and advanced the art form.

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Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher “KC” Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and few people were actively looking for him.

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Teens

Everything you wanted to know about Indians but were afraid to ask by Anton Treuer

From the acclaimed Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer comes an essential book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Ranging from “Why is there such a fuss about nonnative people wearing Indian costumes for Halloween?” to “Why is it called a ‘traditional Indian fry bread taco’?” to “What’s it like for natives who don’t look native?” to “Why are Indians so often imagined rather than understood?”, and beyond,

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This place : 150 years retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm [and 10 others]

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact

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#NotYourPrincess : voices of Native American women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling

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An indigenous peoples’ history of the United States for young people by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz ; adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza

Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity. The original academic text is fully adapted by renowned curriculum experts Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza, for middle-grade and young adult readers to include discussion topics, archival images, original maps, recommendations for further reading, and other materials to encourage students, teachers, and general readers to think critically about their own place in history

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Undefeated : Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football team by Steve Sheinkin

A great American sport and Native American history come together in this true story of how Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner created the legendary Carlisle Indians football team

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Kids

Ancestor approved : intertribal stories for kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride

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The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz.

A biography of the famous American Indian princess, emphasizing her life-long adulation of John Smith and the roles she played in two very different cultures.

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Fry bread : a Native American family story written by Kevin Noble Maillard ; illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America’s 573 recognized tribes.

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I Can make this promise by Christine Day

When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother’s adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family’s history and her own identity

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Indian no more by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell.

When Regina’s Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

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Indian shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith ; illustrated by Jim Madsen

Together with Grampa, Ray Halfmoon, a Seminole-Cherokee boy, finds creative and amusing solutions to life’s challenges.

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My tata’s remedies = Los remedios de mi tata by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford ; illustrated by Antonio Castro L.

Tata Gus teaches his grandson Aaron how to use natural healing remedies, and in the process helps the members of his family and his neighbor.

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Native Americans : discover the history & cultures of the first Americans : with 15 projects by Kim Kavin ; illustrated by Beth Hetland.

Explore how the first Americans, faced with varying climates in a vast land hundreds and thousands of years ago, developed everything we take for granted today: food supplies, shelter, clothing, religion, games, jewelry, transportation, communication, and more.

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Show me a sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

It is 1805 and Mary Lambert has always felt safe among the deaf community of Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard where practically everyone communicates in a shared sign language, but recent events have shattered her life; her brother George has died, land disputes between English settlers and the Wampanoag people are becoming increasingly bitter, and a “scientist” determined to discover the origins of the islands’ widespread deafness has decided she makes the perfect “live specimen”–and kidnapped her.

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The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Diana Magnuson

Recounts how the Cherokees, after fighting to keep their land in the nineteenth century, were forced to leave and travel 1200 miles to a new settlement in Oklahoma, a terrible journey known as the Trail of Tears

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We are grateful : otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell ; Illustrated by Frané Lessac.

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

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We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell ; Illustrated by Frané Lessac.

Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain: We are still here! Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. This companion book to the award-winning We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people’s past, present, and future

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We are water protectors by written by Carole Lindstrom ; illustrated by Michaela Goade

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all… When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource. Inspired by the many indigenous-led movements across North America, this bold and lyrical picture book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption

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Who was Maria Tallchief? by Catherine Gourley ; illustrated by Val Paul Taylor

A biography of the Osage Indian ballerina whose love of dance took her from a life on a reservation to a career on the stag

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Who was Sitting Bull? by Stephanie Spinner ; illustrated by Jim Eldridge.

No one knew the boy they called “Jumping Badger” would grow to become a great leader. Born on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Sitting Bull, as he was later called, was tribal chief.

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