Native American Heritage Month: A Reading List

Since 1990, November has been nationally celebrated as Native American Heritage Month. During this month we honor the culture, traditions, and achievements that Native people have made to our nation. To celebrate, we’ve curated a reading list of books from Native American authors. You can also browse our full Native America/Indigenous Studies list on our website.

Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America by Michael John Witgen (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe)

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and UNC Press

Finalist, 2023 Pulitzer Prize in History
2023 James A. Rawley Prize, Organization of American Historians
2023 Caughey Western History Association Prize, Western History Association

“A searing account. . . . [Witgen’s] incisive and deeply researched study lays bare the mechanisms of this historical land grab.”—Publishers Weekly

“An important analysis of Indigenous resistance to U.S. colonialism in the lands that would become Michigan and Wisconsin during the first half of the nineteenth century.”—Civil War Book Review

The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle by Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee)

“An extremely valuable work for anyone interested in race, human rights, or Native American studies.”—Library Journal

“Ideal for American history buffs, this rich history explores familiar American periods of turmoil through the singular experience of the Lumbee Indian community.”—Publishers Weekly

“An excellent historical account of the many struggles Lumbee people experience, while remaining a proud people determined to retain their identity as Indians.”—Western Historical Quarterly

Staging Indigeneity: Salvage Tourism and the Performance of Native American History by Katrina Phillips (Red Cliff Ojibwe)

2021 George Freedley Memorial Award, Theatre Library Association

“This is an important study about “playing Indian” and the complexities of American Indian identity.”—CHOICE

“An exciting first book . . . [that] contributes important historical and methodological interventions for how one can engage the history of the past and present.”—H-AmIndian

“An excellent study of conquest or settler tourism. . . . I learned a great deal from reading this book.”—American Indian Culture and Research Journal

Vital Relations: How the Osage Nation Moves Indigenous Nationhood into the Future by Jean Dennison (Osage Nation) (forthcoming April 2024)

“Dennison paints a highly contoured and complex picture of the Osage Nation as a site of struggle, contestation, cooperation, and care.”—Clint Carroll, University of Colorado

“In this intimately observed ethnography, Dennison engages with the history of colonization, its many legacies, and attempts to rebuild relationships of respect within colonial structures to provide much-needed care for Indigenous people. Her work here should be a model for other Indigenous studies scholars.”—Darren Ranco, University of Maine

What Side Are You On?: A Tohono O’odham Life across Borders by Michael Steven Wilson (Tohono O’odham) and José Antonio Lucero (forthcoming June 2024)

“An effective, engaging, and valuable book. By tacking between Wilson’s first-person life history and Lucero’s contextual ‘interludes,’ this collaborative work provides both an intimate account of lived experience and a historical analysis of the larger structures of power that have a hand in shaping life as an Indigenous person along the US-Mexico border.”—Shannon Speed, University of California, Los Angeles

“Mike Wilson’s life history and varied experiences reveal that Native lives are complex, adaptive, and entirely modern. Wilson and Lucero’s unique dual-story approach is extremely effective. I can’t think of another book quite like this one.”—K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Arizona State University

On the Swamp: Fighting for Indigenous Environmental Justice by Ryan Emanuel (Lumbee) (forthcoming April 2024)

In On the Swamp Ryan Emanuel’s scientific insight and deeply personal connections to his home blend together in a book that is both a heartfelt and an analytical call to acknowledge and protect sacred places.

“This book is an extraordinary study of environmental and Indigenous history. Exhaustively researched and truly captivating.”—Steven Semken, Arizona State University