Publications

    The Girl in the Photograph: The True Story of a Native American Child, Lost and Found in America
    Dorgan, Byron L. The Girl in the Photograph: The True Story of a Native American Child, Lost and Found in America. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Through the story of Tamara, an abused Native American girl, North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan tells the story of the many children living on Indian reservations. On a winter morning in 1990, Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota picked up the Bismarck Tribune. On the front page, a small girl gazed into the distance, shedding a tear. The headline: "Foster home children beaten–and nobody's helping". Dorgan, who had been working with American Indian tribes to secure resources, was distressed. He flew to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to meet with five-year-old Tamara and her grandfather. They became friends. Then she disappeared. And he would search for her for decades until they finally found each other again. This book is her story, from childhood to the present, but it's also the story of a people and a nation. More than one in three American Indian/Alaskan Native children live in poverty. AI/AN children are disproportionately in foster care and awaiting adoption. Suicide among AI/AN youth ages 15 to 24 is 2.5 times the national rate. How have we allowed this to happen? As distressing a situation as it is, this is also a story of hope and resilience. Dorgan, who founded the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, has worked tirelessly to bring Native youth voices to the forefront of policy discussions, engage Native youth in leadership and advocacy, and secure and share resources for Native youth. Readers will fall in love with this heartbreaking story, but end the book knowing what can be done and what they can do"– provided by publisher.
    Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice
    Deer, Ada Elizabeth, and Theda Perdue. Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice. New Directions in Native American Studies. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "A memoir of the first eighty-three years in the life of Ada Deer, the first woman to serve as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and her tireless campaigns to reverse the forced termination of the Menominee tribe and to ensure sovereignty and self-determination for all tribes"-- Provided by publisher.

    "A deeply personal story, written with humor and honesty, this book is a testimony to the ability of one individual to change the course of history through hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to social justice"-- Provided by publisher.
    Ceremony
    Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. Penguin classics. New York: Penguin, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Almost forty years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature–a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power." -- Publisher's description.
    White Magic: Essays
    Washuta, Elissa. White Magic: Essays. Portland, OR: Tin House, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, "starter witch kits" of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning. In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life -- Twin Peaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham -- to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule." -- from the publisher.
    An American Sunrise: Poems
    Harjo, Joy. An American Sunrise: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history ... Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice." -- Jacket.
    My Body is a Book of Rules
    Washuta, Elissa. My Body is a Book of Rules. Pasadena, CA: Red Hen Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren't threatening her life, they're shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. Her crisis of American Indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. Sifting through the scraps of her past in seventeen formally inventive chapters, Washuta aligns the strictures of her Catholic school education with Cosmopolitan's mandates for womanhood, views memories through the distorting lens of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and contrasts her bipolar highs and lows with those of Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain. Built on the bones of fundamental identity questions as contorted by a distressed brain, My Body Is a Book of Rules pulls no punches in its self-deprecating and ferocious look at human fallibility.
    The Grass Dancer
    Power, Susan. The Grass Dancer. New York: Putnam's, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    A multi-generational saga of the Sioux Indians, mixing magic and reality. Set in the Dakotas, it begins in the 1860s with the tragic romance of Ghost Horse, a sacred clown, and Red Dress, a woman warrior, whose spirits seek desperately to be reunited.
    Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's
    Midge, Tiffany. Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's is a powerful and inviting collection of Tiffany Midge's musings on life, politics, and identity as a Native woman in modern America"-- Provided by publisher.
    Winter in the Blood
    Welch, James. Winter in the Blood. Penguin classics. New York: Penguin, 2008. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Narrated by a young Native American living on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana, Winter in the Blood is the story of a man living out the tragedy of his people. Intelligent, sensitive, and self-destructive, he is haunted by the untimely deaths of his father and older brother and the shards of his once proud heritage. He sleepwalks through his days working on his stepfather's cattle ranch and consoles himself with alcohol and women. An ironic epiphany provides a tie to the vast land of his ancestors and an alternative to despair.
    Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers: Poems
    Skeets, Jake. Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers: Poems. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros. Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men 'only touch when they fuck in a backseat.' Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, 'the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.' But if Jake Skeets's collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place'full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover's body: A spine becomes a railroad. 'Veins burst oil, elk black.' And 'becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal.' Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense. Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity.
    The Removed: A Novel
    Hobson, Brandon. The Removed: A Novel. New York: Ecco, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

     "Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago--from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson"-- Provided by publisher.

    "Quah, Oklahoma. In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer's in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. With the family's annual bonfire approaching-- marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray's death-- each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world." -- adapted from jacket

    There There
    Orange, Tommy. There There. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    The book opens with an essay by Orange as a prologue, and then proceeds to follow a large cast of Native Americans living in the area of Oakland, CA, as they struggle with a wide array of challenges ranging from depression, alchoholism, unemployment, and the challenges of living with an ethnic identity of being ambiguously nonwhite. All coalesce at a community pow wow in Oakland.

    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
    Treuer, David. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present. New York: Riverhead Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    The received idea of Native American history -- as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's 1970 mega-bestselling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee -- has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because 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. Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the U.S. military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

    Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
    Estes, Nick. Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance. London, New York: Verso, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan "Mni Wiconi"–Water is Life–was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue. In Our History is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance leading to the \#NoDAPL movement from the days of the Missouri River trading forts through the Indian Wars, the Pick-Sloan dams, the American Indian Movement, and the campaign for Indigenous rights at the United Nations. While a historian by trade, Estes also draws on observations from the encampments and from growing up as a citizen of the Oceti Sakowin (the Nation of the Seven Council Fires), making Our History is the Future at once a work of history, a personal story, and a manifesto"– provided by publisher.

    Indian Horse
    Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Saul Indian Horse is a child when his family retreats into the woods. Among the lakes and the cedars, they attempt to reconnect with half-forgotten traditions and hide from the authorities who have been kidnapping Ojibway youth. But when winter approaches, Saul loses everything: his brother, his parents, his beloved grandmother–and then his home itself. Alone in the world and placed in a horrific boarding school, Saul is surrounded by violence and cruelty. At the urging of a priest, he finds a tentative salvation in hockey. Rising at dawn to practice alone, Saul proves determined and undeniably gifted. His intuition and vision are unmatched. His speed is remarkable. Together they open doors for him: away from the school, into an all-Ojibway amateur circuit, and finally within grasp of a professional career. Yet as Saul's victories mount, so do the indignities and the taunts, the racism and the hatred–the harshness of a world that will never welcome him.