November is Native American Heritage Month— an annual designation that promotes awareness and appreciation for the histories, cultures, and contributions of Native American people.
Many children in the United States first learn about American Indians through the tale of the First Thanksgiving. The simple story of a friendly feast shared between English settlers and members of the Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts often obscures a more complex understanding of the role of American Indians in U.S. history. Native American Heritage Month offers an opportunity to reflect on the experiences and contributions of American Indian people without overlooking the suffering and difficulties they faced through war, disease, and widespread oppression as European settlers moved across the North American continent.
Native American Heritage Month also encourages recognition of the cultures and contributions of American Indian people in the contemporary United States– members of many active tribes and ethnic groups with their own vibrant cultures and diverse histories. Expand your perspective of past and present by exploring the content curated by the National Museum of the American Indian, the Library of Congress, and other partners of Native American Heritage Month– and check out one of these books that explores the American Indian experience:
Walking the Choctaw Road by Tim Tingle
Master Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle chronicles his heritage through folklore, myths, and historical narratives about shape-shifters, healers, and the Trail of Tears.
Code Talkers explores the wartime contributions of Navajo Marines through the story of 16 year-old Ned Begay who joins the war effort as a code breaker, sending and receiving messages in an encrypted code based on his native Navajo language.
Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell
In this lyrical tale set at the turn of the twentieth century, two Mohawk sisters must reconcile their tribal identities with the white world when their father sends them to boarding school.
A funny story of unlikely friendship between Lewis, a seventh grader who has grown up on a Tuscarora Indian reservation in Upstate New York, and George, a kid from the nearby Air Force base who bond over a mutual appreciation for The Beatles and Queen.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The comical observations of Arnold Spirit, who’s spent his life on the Spokane Indian reservation, are accompanied by his insightful cartoons and hilarious drawings as he navigates his experiences in a mostly-white school away from the reservation.
Filed under: Books and Reading, Teen Interest Tagged: | American Indian Heritage Month, American Indians, Code Talkers, If I Ever Get Out of Here, Indians, Native American Heritage Month, Native Americans, Sweetgrass Basket, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Walking the Choctaw Road