Indigenous Author Spotlight
Indigenous Heritage Month may be over, but Indigenous authors create fascinating and impactful stories year round! Here are our picks for reads across mystery, thriller, literary fiction, and nonfiction to celebrate the works of Native American writers.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon
Renee “Cash” Blackbear, a 19-year-old, tough-as-nails, resilient Ojibwe woman, has lived all her life in Fargo, sister city to Minnesota’s Moorhead, just downriver from the Cities. Her life revolves around driving truck for local farmers, drinking beer, playing pool, smoking cigarettes, and solving criminal investigations through the power of her visions. She has one friend, Sheriff Wheaton, who’s also her guardian and helped her out of the broken foster care system. Together they must work to solve a murder across cultures in a rural Midwest community layered in racism, genocide, and oppression.
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 lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
Interested in learning more? Check out some of these other books at the library!