Native American Heritage Month


Local Autumn scene

As we move into November and tune personal thoughts to our 2020 harvest celebrations, this month we also commemorate the heritage and history of the native peoples of North America. We’re featuring a selection of poetry, memoirs, history, and fiction from our collections, as well as related links to elibrary resources  and Indigenous People’s Day title recommendations from staff at Princeton Public Library.

Heartbeat of Wounded Knee cover image

Night Watchman cover imageAs for me, I’m always eager to explore Louise Erdrich‘s fiction, and I recommend The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee as a place to pick up history lessons.

If you’re interested in discussions from educators and additional booklists, start by following Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo @debreese on twitter and by visiting her website, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), where you can find additional recommendations and links.

In a blog post for the National Council of Teachers of English, entitled “We Can Do Better: Rethinking Native Stories in Classrooms,” Dr. Reese offers some some considerations to ponder in this season:

“When teachers use Thanksgiving as the vehicle for their instruction about Native peoples, they are inadvertently locating Native lives in the past.”
“Use present tense verbs to talk about Native Nations.”
“The key ideas are to choose books that are tribally specific (that name a specific tribal nation and accurately present that nation), written by Native writers, set in the present day, and relevant all year round, keeping Native peoples visible throughout the school year.”

Food for thought.

Photo courtesy of the author.


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