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Booklist: Indigenous Lives

Written by Rebecca

November 24, 2020

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving, we can also celebrate Indigenous people who lived in America before America was colonized. With November being Native American’s People’s Month, we wanted to share books with you that celebrates their lives and culture.

Below is a list of books focusing on intergenerational and connections to the environment.



1. When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith
A story with text and images that shows how different people, generations, and friends can live. “I feel loved when my Elders are kind to me.” Kindness is a word that many people can relearn and this story shares many experiences about kindness. 

2. When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson
A story about a grandmother telling her granddaughter on how colonization changed her young life. Her native tongue was not accepted, she could no longer wear beautiful clothes, and her hair was cut short. But through these challenges, her grandmother still reminded her granddaughter that she found ways to keep her culture alive. Grandmother shares that she shared her native tongue, elongated their hair with plants, and thought of home when they were alone.

3. Saltypie, by Tim Tingle
A Choctaw Journey from Darkenss into Light
A young boy learns about the triumphs and struggles of his grandmother because she was an Indian woman. She tells him that trouble means saltypie, and sometimes you have to shrug it off. 

4. First Laugh Welcome, Baby by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood
A Navajo family antipicpates the moment when the baby has their first laugh. Grandpa and grandpa take the baby to the Navajo nation. Throughout the story, you learn about cultural movements of mother, sister-nadi, and family When the baby laughs for the first time, clans celebrate. 

5. Bowwow PowWow, by Brenda J. Child
A young girl named Windy Girl learns about her family’s reasons to dance from her Uncle’s stories. Her uncle’s story expresses the relationship between her people and dogs. This is also a bilingual text to learn the language of the Ojibwe people.

6. A Day with Yayah, by Nicola I. Campbell
Yaya, their grandmother taught her granddaughter Nikki about the brilliance of the Earth as well as the language. She teaches her grandchildren how cucumbers can treat rashes by explaining that every plant is different. 

 7. When the Shadbush Blooms, by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz
Images display how Lenni Lenape people lived in the past and how modern-day Lenni Lape people live. Family gardens, clans enjoy sporting events, and gathering sap. What is unique to the Leape people follow the seasons of the Sun, Moon, and natural world. This book intertwines the culture and the ideals of their lives. 


8. Go Show the World, by Wab Kinew
A story celebrating historical and modern-day Indigenous people. Even though this book is about different people such as: Jim Thorpe, Dr. Susan Laflesche Picotte, Te-Wau-Zee, and so many more shine so that they could “show the world what people who matter can do.” 


9. My Heroes My People, African Americans and Native Americans in the West, by Morgan Monceaux and Ruth Katch
Story written in 1999 brings about the interconnected relationship of oppressed people and how they overcame circumstance. Jim Beckwourth was a slave but later became involved in fur trading. John Horse was a mixed-blood Black and Seminole who fought against their removal. 



10. Awasis and the World-Famous Bannock
A fictional story about a little girl accepting gifts from animals so that she could make her world-famous bannock. An indigenous story about the Cree people. 

11. In My Anaana’s Amautik, by Nadia Sammurtok
Inuit writer shares how a small child feels when carried in their mother’s amautik (a-MOW-tick) pouch where a baby can be carried. 

12. In the Sky at Nighttime, by Laura Deal
An illustrative story about an Indigenous’ families experience on what they see in the night sky. They see the raven, Northern lights, snowfall, and the moon’s glow.

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