Native American Heritage Month

Each November we celebrate the rich ancestry, cultures, traditions, and history of Native Americans and acknowledge their unique challenges and important contributions to history.

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. The event culminated an effort by Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation who rode across the nation on horseback seeking approval from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month

Our librarians have created a list of fiction and non-fiction titles for all ages:


The Night Watchman: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

A historical novel based on the life of the National Book Award-winning author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights.

Winter Counts: A Novel by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

A vigilante enforcer on South Dakota's Rosebud Indian Reservation enlists the help of an ex to investigate the activities of an expanding drug cartel, while a new tribal council initiative raises controversial questions. A first novel. 

There There by Tommy Orange

A novel—which grapples with the complex history of Native Americans; with an inheritance of profound spirituality; and with a plague of addiction, abuse and suicide—follows 12 characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler

You've heard the hit song "Come and Get Your Love" in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, but the story of the band behind it is one of cultural, political, and social importance. Brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas were talented Native American rock musicians that took the 1960s Sunset Strip by storm.  Determined to control their creative vision and maintain their cultural identity, but as the American Indian Movement gained momentum the band took a stand, choosing pride in their ancestry over continued commercial reward.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well. They did not disappear—and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence—the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. In no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. Long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students: especially the cast members at the center of the controversy.

The Grizzly Mother by Brett D. Huson

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic: a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith”, and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about?

More Native American History titles.