Start by adding books by American Indian authors to your reading list. If you're looking for book recommendations, consult Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis owned by Native American novelist Louise Erdrich. Erdrich's books and poetry have won numerous awards; her 2016 novel LaRose won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
A dedicated team of booklovers operates Birchbark Books. Store manager and artist Carolyn Anderson suggests the following titles for behavioral health professionals who want to learn more about Native Americans:
- Healing and Mental Health for Native Americans, Ethan Nebelkopf, Editor
- Growing Up Native American: An Anthology, Patricia Riley
- Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education, Robert Benson, Editor
- Medicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese
Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask
Another title you can pick up (or order online) at Birchbark Books is Anton Treur'sEverything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask. If you’ve ever hesitated to ask a question about Indian traditions, practices, or culture out of fear of risking offense, this book is for you.
Hear Treuer talk about Columba's Day and his book on this 2012 interview with NPR.
“Many different things inform identity, including heredity, connections to tribal communities, traditional lifeways, and tribal languages. Each of those dimensions of identity might be threatened for many Indian people, but what it means to be Indian is both complicated and very real, in spite of the presuppositions engendered by movies and stereotypes.” (From p.43).
More reading and viewing ideas
Visit the First Nations Development Institute for a list a staff book picks: Native American Heritage Month Reading Recommendations
And if you'd like to combine your reading with online viewing, celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a special collection of films and stories from Public Television.