2016 Book Releases by Native Americans To Read Before And After The Year Ends

This post is in honor of Native American Heritage Month, which runs all the through November. As with Latinx Heritage Month, I want to again stress that months of targeted celebration are important but we should never limit exploration of certain voices and stories to those months. 

On my end, I have continued with my pledge to read at least one book a month by an Indigenous author for the next ten months (and beyond). I did not necessarily stick to the books I listed in the original post, but I’m progressing with my goal, so that is all that counts! Do check out my post if you want to read more Indigenous authors and need suggestions.

If you’re interested in blog events honoring Native American Heritage Month, I recommend you check out Reading and Gaming For Justice for guest posts, lists, and reviews that celebrate Native Hawaiian stories and authors. 

2016 has been a great year for book releases. In the year that I joined the blogging community, I have witnessed the debuts of talented writers of color and the successes of marginalized voices in the publishing industry, both commercially and critically. Today, I want to highlight some of the more notable releases by Native American authors, who are writing excellent work and still need more recognition. The 11 books below are a mix of high profile releases and books published by smaller presses. This is not an extensive and complete list, by any means, but it may be a good starting point for readers who want to read the most contemporary Native American literature. 


2016 Releases by Native American Authors

 

Love Beyond Body Space & Time, Take Us To Your Chief

  • Love Beyond, Space, And Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology – Edited by Hope Nicholson
    • A stunning and visionary collection of stories penned by several Indigenous authors. Read this one as soon as possible!
  • Burning In This Midnight Dream – by Louirse Bernice Halfe
    • In this book of poems, the author recounts the damage residential schools have done to herself, her family, and her community.
  • Take Us To Your Chief – by Drew Hayden Taylor
    • A short story collection that covers traditional topics of science fiction – from time travel, space travel, hostile alien invasions and government conspiracies – all while exploring First Nations discourse. 

 

 

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  • Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada – by Chelsea Vowel
    • An essential book on Indigenous history, issues, and terminology. Read this book if you want to be better educated on Native American culture and identity, state violence against Indigenous peoples and other important matters relevant to Native Americans.
  • Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow – by Brian D. McInnes
    • “Francis Pegahmagabow’s stories describe many parts of his life and are characterized by classic Ojibwe narrative. They reveal aspects of Francis’s Anishinaabe life and worldview. Presented in their original Ojibwe as well as in English translation, the stories also reveal a rich and evocative relationship to the lands and waters of Georgian Bay.” – from Goodreads blurb
  • LaRose – by Louise Erdrich
    • The latest release by acclaimed author, Louise Erdrich. From the Goodreads blurb: “emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.”

 

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  • Mongrels – by Stephen Graham Jones
    • A coming-of-age story about a boy who discovers all his living relatives are werewolves. He must learn to accept this reality while struggling to survive in a society that shuns him and his kind.
  • The Shoe Boy, by Duncan McCue
    • McCue is a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario. The Shoe Boy, his first book, is a memoir that covers with humor a season he spent hunting in Northern Quebec trapline.
  • The Right To Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet – by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
    • Watt-Cloutier is an Inuk environmental and human rights activist who devotes herself to defending what is threatened and fighting the global threat of climate change. This is her memoir.

 

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  • Thunder Boy Jr. – by Sherman Alexie
    • A picture book by the award-winning Sherman Alexie that celebrates the special relationship of a father and son.
  • Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada – Memee Lavell-Harvard (Editor), Jennifer Brant (Editor)
    • Another essential read. The cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada is a human rights crisis that needs to be brought to national attention. This book is meant to honor those missing women and expose the shockingly high rates of violence against Indigenous women.

Please support Native American authors and buy these books for yourself or friends and family this holiday season!


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50 thoughts on “2016 Book Releases by Native Americans To Read Before And After The Year Ends

  1. I didn’t realize Duncan McCue had a book out! He is a reporter with the CBC, and is a must-watch. Great journalist, I can’t wait to read his book. I’m going to order it right away. Thanks for this list, Naz! I’ve been looking for some Native authors – I just finished Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and My Name is Not Easy by Debby Edwardson. Have you read either?

    1. Yes, I’ve read Diary of a Part-Time Indian, though I feel I must reread it soon because even though I liked it, I wasn’t as impressed with it as other people have been! I feel like I read it wrong. D:
      but I have not read “Not Easy.” I look it up. Thanks!

  2. *Promptly adds to TBR* I love how you’ve identified your reading deficits/areas where you aren’t well read and are actively choosing to work on that, while still making sure that the mission of your blog stays intact. I love when people read meaningfully. Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. Thanks for this list! I’ve only read LaRose and Thunder Boy Jr (my kids loved it especially since we got to see Alexie read it – with actions too) but haven’t heard of quite a lot of the others.

  4. I just realized you have a new header and it’s SO DARN CUUUTE !! It looks amazing and fits your blog perfectly.
    Anyway, I went ahead and added a few of these to my TBR as per usual when I visit your blog haha!

  5. Great list, Naz: I love it! Another writer whose works I think you’d love is Richard Van Camp, a Dogrib writer from the northern territories of what’s-now-called Canada. There are some similarities with Drew Hayden Taylor’s writing, especially the smart-but-playful tone (with the occasional burst of darkness). I just finished an old collection of RVC’s, but he has three new books out this year, which is unusual, but he (like Sherman Alexie) also writes for very young children, and does some editing of anthologies and non-fiction too. Hope you find lots of new faves on this list as you read through it!

      1. I was listening to an interview and he was discussing a new book (Blanket of Butterflies) and I thought it had only just been published, but maybe it was at the end of 2015? Maybe that’s the year that he had three books all at once? How quickly the reading years begin to blur…. *squints at TBR list, which refuses to get any shorter*

  6. Mine recommendation probably won’t count, but if possible do check out Sue Harrison’s novels. ( does a white woman writing historical fiction about Alaskan Native Americans count?)

    1. This list was specifically meant to highlight works written by Native American authors. But thanks for recommending Sure Harrison! I haven’t heard of her work, but I trust your judgment and will assume it’s quality work that doesn’t misrepresent Native people.

  7. Great list, as always, Naz! Like YourDaughter’sBookshelf, I didn’t realize Duncan McCue had a book out – adding it to the list! I’ve also had my eye on The Right to be Cold since it came out. However, since it’s nonfiction, we’ll see how successful I am at getting it read. For now, I’ll share! 🙂

    1. Hehe, I’m struggling to do my 1 nonfiction book a month commitment. 😬 Often I forget and then scramble to read a short one. I’m enjoying the nonfiction I’ve read so far, though! I just prioritize reading fiction over anything else.

  8. Hooray! I know I’ve babbled about Mongrels to you in the past, and these are some awesome recommendations altogether. Reading more indigenous authors is I think going to be one of my goals for next year, as I’ve been terribly negligent about that. Drew Hayden Taylor! I’ve been hearing about him forever, gotta get on that!

  9. I’ll have to try Under Boy. I’m getting more and more interested in reading picture books, which makes me feel so weird when I go to the library, But I’d like to read Under Boy because I’d like to read more stories about great fathers and great relationships with them.

    1. I can’t remember the last time I read a picture book! Probably over a decade ago… D: I imagine reading them as an adult is a different experience than reading them as a kid for the first time. If anything, I should read a picture book to see how I will interpret it as an adult reader.

      1. Yea, it would be a little different but interesting still. I love them for the artwork and how creative some of them are. I highly suggest you try The Arrival by Shaun Tan. You might like that one.

  10. If you like Sherman Alexie, you should see the movie Smoke Signals based on his books. It’s really a great movie! I saw it in ENG 101 and I really liked it. Read some of True Adventures of a Part-Time Indian in class, too, which is what the movie is based from. I hope you like it!

  11. Thank you so much for the book recommendations Naz! LaRose and Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada look particularly appealing to me.

    Side note- When did you redesign your blog? It looks fabulous!

  12. Thanks so much for this brilliant list, Naz! 🙂 Some are on my tbr, but many are new to me as well. I really want to read Forever Loved! Saw Indigenous Writes on NetGalley some time ago, but I tend to need more time to read nonfic and they often archive quickly. Hope I can ILL some reads from the uni libraries.

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