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American Indian Authors

Readers' Cafe

Indian Killer
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
The Thunder Before the Storm The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt
Through Black Spruce
Good Friday on the Rez A Pine Ridge Odyssey
Killer of Enemies
Empire of Wild
New Poets of Native Nations
The Night Watchman
An American Sunrise
Crazy Brave A Memoir
My Heart Is a Chainsaw
The Only Good Indians
Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes
Braiding Sweetgrass Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Crazy Horse Weeps The Challenge of Being Lakota in White America
House Made of Dawn
Living Nations, Living Words An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry
Storyteller
Rez Life An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life
The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band
Winter Counts
The Indian Lawyer
Killing Custer The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians
Indian Killer / Sherman Alexie

A serial murderer called the Indian Killer is terrorizing Seattle, hunting, scalping, and slaughtering white men. Motivated by rage and seeking retribution for his people's violent history, his grizzly MO and skillful elusiveness both paralyze the city with fear and prompt an uprising of racial brutality. Out of the chaos emerges John Smith. Born to Indians but raised by white parents, Smith yearns for his lost heritage.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me / Sherman Alexie

A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, loss, and forgiveness from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie's bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the affection that they so desperately craved. She wanted a better life for her son, but it was only by leaving her behind that he could hope to achieve it. It's these contradictions that made Lillian Alexie a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated, and very human woman.
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The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt / Clyde H Bellecourt

Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, provides an intimate narrative of his childhood on the White Earth Reservation, his long journey through the prison system, and the front lines of 1970's social activism, where he went to war against entrenched racism. He addresses his battles with addiction, the abuse he endured at the hands of a Catholic priest, and his relationship to the cases of Leonard Peltier and murdered AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash. This gritty, as-told-to memoir uncovers the humanity behind Bellecourt's militant image, revealing a sensitive spirit whose wounds motivated him to confront injustice, altering the course of Native and American history."This book is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Through Black Spruce / Joseph Boyden

Beautifully written and startlingly original, Through Black Spruce takes the considerable talents of Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden to new and exciting heights. This is the story of two immensely compelling characters: Will Bird, a legendary Cree bush pilot who lies comatose in a remote Ontario hospital; and Annie Bird, Will's niece, a beautiful loner and trapper who has come to sit beside her uncle's bed. Broken in different ways, the two take silent communion in their unspoken kinship, revealing a story rife with heartbreak, fierce love, ancient feuds, mysterious disappearances, murders, and the bonds that hold a family, and a people, together.

Good Friday on the Rez: A Pine Ridge Odyssey / David Hugh Bunnell

Good Friday on the Rez follows the author on a one-day, 280-mile round-trip from his boyhood Nebraska hometown of Alliance to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he reconnects with his longtime friend and blood brother, Vernell White Thunder. In a compelling mix of personal memoir and recent American Indian history, David Hugh Bunnell debunks the prevalent myth that all is hopeless for these descendants of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull and shows how the Lakota people have recovered their pride and dignity and why they will ultimately triumph.

What makes this narrative special is Bunnell's own personal experience of close to forty years of friendships and connections on the Rez, as well as his firsthand exposure to some of the historic events. When he lived on Pine Ridge at the same time of the American Indian Movement's seventy-one-day siege at Wounded Knee in 1973, he met Russell Means and got a glimpse behind the barricades. Bunnell has also seen the more recent cultural resurgence firsthand, attending powwows and celebrations, and even getting into the business of raising a herd of bison.

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Killer of Enemies / Joseph Bruchac

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Onespeople so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely humanand there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones petsgenetically engineered monstersturned on them and are now loose on the world.Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozens powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people.

Empire of Wild / Cherie Dimaline

A bold and brilliant new indigenous voice in contemporary literature makes her American debut with this kinetic, imaginative, and sensuous fable inspired by the traditional Canadian M?tis legend of the Rogarou - a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of native people's communities.Joan has been searching for her missing husband, Victor, for nearly a year - ever since that terrible night they'd had their first serious argument hours before he mysteriously vanished.

New Poets of Native Nations / Heid E Erdrich

A landmark anthology celebrating twenty-one Native poets first published in the twenty-first century

New Poets of Native Nations gathers poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry. Heid E. Erdrich has selected twenty-one poets whose first books were published after the year 2000 to highlight the exciting works coming up after Joy Harjo and Sherman Alexie. Collected here are poems of great breadth -- long narratives, political outcries, experimental works, and traditional lyrics -- and the result is an essential anthology of some of the best poets writing now.

Poets included are Tacey M. Atsitty, Trevino L. Brings Plenty, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Laura Da', Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Elise Foerster, Eric Gansworth, Gordon Henry, Jr., Sy Hoahwah, LeAnne Howe, Layli Long Soldier, Janet McAdams, Brandy Nalani McDougall, Margaret Noodin, dg okpik, Craig Santos Perez, Tommy Pico, Cedar Sigo, M. L. Smoker, Gwen Westerman, and Karenne Wood.

The Night Watchman / Louise Erdrich

Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new "emancipation" bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn't about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a "termination" that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans "for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run"?

Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice's shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn't been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.

An American Sunrise / Joy Harjo

A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.

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. In An American Sunrise, 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.?

Crazy Brave: A Memoir / Joy Harjo

In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she nourished an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.

My Heart Is a Chainsaw / Stephen Graham Jones

Jade feels like she's trapped in a slasher film as tourists go missing and the tension between her community and the celebrity newcomers to the Indian Lake shore heads towards a tipping point, when she feels the killer will rise. Jade watches as the small town she knows and loves begins to head towards catastrophe as yachts compete with canoes and the celebrity rich change the landscape of what was designated park lands to develop what they call Terra Nova. This new novel from the acclaimed author of The Only Good Indians and "literary master" (Tananarive Due, author of The Good House) Stephen Graham Jones, is a must-read, exploring the changing landscape of the West through his particular voice of sharp humor and prophetic violence that will have you cheering for the American heroine we need.

The Only Good Indians / Stephen Graham Jones

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes / Alvin M. Josephy Jr.

For the first time in the two hundred years since Lewis and Clark led their expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific, we hear the other side of the story?as we listen to nine descendants of the Indians whose homelands were traversed. Among those who speak: Newspaper editor Mark Trahant writes of his childhood belief that he was descended from Clark and what his own research uncovers. Award-winning essayist and fiction writer Debra Magpie Earling describes the tribal ways that helped her nineteenth-century Salish ancestors survive, and that still work their magic today. Montana political figure Bill Yellowtail tells of the efficiency of Indian trade networks, explaining how axes that the expedition traded for food in the Mandan and Hidatsa villages of Kansas had already arrived in Nez Perce country by the time Lewis and Clark got there a few months and 1,000 miles later.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants / Robin Wall Kimmerer

An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In?Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation." As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.

As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In?Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness?the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural?to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen.

Crazy Horse Weeps: The Challenge of Being Lakota in White America / Joseph M. Marshall III

For Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people, historical trauma, chronically underfunded federal programs, and broken promises on the part of the US government have resulted in gaping health, educational, and economic disparities compared to the general population. Crazy Horse Weeps, offers a thorough historical overview of how South Dakota reservations have wound up in these tragic circumstances, showing how discrimination, a disorganized tribal government, and a devastating dissolution of Lakota culture by the US government have transformed the landscape of Native life. Yet these extraordinary challenges, Marshall argues, can be overcome. Focusing on issues of identity and authenticity, he uses his extensive experience in traditional Lakota wisdom to propose a return to traditional tribal values and to outline a plan for a hopeful future.

House Made of Dawn / N. Scott Momaday

A special 50th anniversary edition of the magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning classic from N. Scott Momaday, with a new preface by the authorA young Native American, Abel has come home from war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his grandfather's, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world - modern, industrial America - pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, claiming his soul, and goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of depravity and disgust. Beautifully rendered and deeply affecting, House Made of Dawn has moved and inspired readers and writers for the last fifty years. It remains, in the words of The Paris Review, "both a masterpiece about the universal human condition and a masterpiece of Native American literature.

Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry

A powerful, moving anthology that celebrates the breadth of Native poets writing today.Joy Harjo, the first Native poet to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate, has championed the voices of Native peoples past and present. Her signature laureate project gathers the work of contemporary Native poets into a national, fully digital map of story, sound, and space, celebrating their vital and unequivocal contributions to American poetry.This companion anthology features each poem and poet from the project to offer readers a chance to hold the wealth of poems in their hands. With work from Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui, Layli Long Soldier, among others, Living Nations, Living Words showcases, as Joy Harjo writes in her stirring introduction, "poetry [that] emerges from the soul of a community, the heart and lands of the people.

Storyteller / Leslie Marmon Silko

Silko's groundbreaking book Storyteller, first published in 1981, blends original short stories and poetry influenced by the traditional oral tales that she heard growing up on the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico with autobiographical passages, folktales, family memories, and photographs. As she mixes traditional and Western literary genres, Silko examines themes of memory, alienation, power, and identity; communicates Native American notions regarding time, nature, and spirituality; and explores how stories and storytelling shape people and communities. Storyteller illustrates how one can frame collective cultural identity in contemporary literary forms, as well as illuminates the importance of myth, oral tradition, and ritual in Silko's own work.

Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life / David Treuer

Celebrated novelist David Treuer has gained a reputation for writing fiction that expands the horizons of Native American literature. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer brings a novelist's storytelling skill and an eye for detail to a complex and subtle examination of Native American reservation life, past and present.

With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the waves of public policy that have disenfranchised and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population. Through the eyes of students, teachers, government administrators, lawyers, and tribal court judges, he shows how casinos, tribal government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have transformed the landscape of Native American life.

The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band / Frances Washburn

Opening July 4, 1969, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band begins with a raucous Fourth of July gig that abruptly ends with the Red Birds ducking out of the performance in a?hail of beer bottles. By the end of the evening, community member Buffalo Ames is dead, presumed to be murdered, just outside the bar. Sissy Roberts, the bands singer and the best female guitar picker on the rez, is reluctantly drawn into the ensuing investigation by an FBI agent who discovers Sissys knack for hearing other peoples secrets. The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band is part mystery, part community chronicle. Shaped by a cast of skillfully drawn characters, all of whom at one time or another are potential suspects, at the core of the story is smart and compassionate Sissy.

Winter Counts / David Heska Wanbli Weiden

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 own 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. They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power.

The Indian Lawyer / James Welch

Sylvester Yellow Calf is a former reservation basketball star, a promising young lawyer, and a possible congressional candidate. But when a parolee ensnares him in a blackmail scheme, he'll have to decide just who he is, and what he wants.

Killing Custer: The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians / James Welch

Custer's ill-fated attack on June 25, 1876, has gone down as the American military's most catastrophic defeat. This historic and personal work tells the Native American side, poignant revealing how disastrous the encounter was for the "victors," the last great gathering of Plains Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull. Telling of the pride and desperation of a people systematically stripped of their treaty rights, hounded from their ancestral hunting grounds, and herded into wretched reservations, Killing Custer reveals how this defining moment in American history was no more a "Last Stand" than a final celebration of waning power and freedom.

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