The Whole Family Should Read These Books for Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Yahoo Lifestyle

Around 30 years ago, several cities and localities across the United States began celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October in replacement of the traditional (and extremely controversial) Columbus Day. It’s a positive, welcome change given the absolutely horrific history of Christopher Columbus, which includes enslavement of indigenous people, the violent rape of women, and seizure of land.

Indigenous people and specifically, Indigenous authors and activists, are working to fix the historical record with essays, art, and books that teach about Indigenous people’s history. Given the fact that Christopher Columbus never actually landed in the United States and much of his lauded “history” was a work of fiction, books about Indigenous Peoples’ Day are an essential tool for educating both ourselves and our children.
All of the books on this list are written by people Indigenous to North America, and there’s something for everyone in the family on this list. Because while we can’t change history, we can certainly learn from it.
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Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
This book is powerful. Full stop. Yes, it’s a children’s book, but it reads almost like an anthem. The illustrations that accompany the words bring the story of Indigenous people into full, living color in an intimate way that only children’s literature seems capable of doing.
More: Books for Kids to Celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Month
Milkweed Editions
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Robin Wall Kimmerer is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. I didn’t so much as read this book as I did breathe it in as a meditation over a period of evenings.
It’s part botanical guide, part history of Indigenous medicines, and part exploration of the language between us and the Earth. Everything in Braiding Sweetgrass is related to the author’s heritage, and the pride in which she owns the stewardship of her land is transcendent.
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Tundra Books
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Wab Kinew is a member of the Midewin and an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Go Show the World is an entertaining picture book that features some of the fantastic accomplishments of the Indigenous people of North America — from Crazy Horse to astronauts to NHL goalies. It’s a beautiful series of highlights told in a sweet way.
Roaring Brook Press
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Kevin Noble Maillard is an enrolled citizen of the Seminole Nation.
Fry Bread is the winner of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal and the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor Winner.
The books I remember most from childhood were told in verse. Think Hop on Pop. Fry Bread is nearly a song, told in lyrical prose, in sparse, two-sentence couplets that tell the tale of a community’s treasured food and how that food brings them together.

W. W. Norton & Company
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Joy Harjo is the United States poet laureate, a member of the Muscogee Nation, and belongs to Oce Vpofv.
Harjo’s ability to weave a narrative through poetry in a way that feels both modern and ancient is a thing of sheer beauty. Poet Warrior is her memoir, and it is as enlightening as it is captivating. It’s everything you’d expect of a poet laureate and more.
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Pebble Books
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Dr. Katrina Phillips is a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.
Her book Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a photographic and historical exploration of the history of the holiday told in a relatable way for everyone to enjoy and learn from.
This book is visually stunning and eloquently written. It belongs in every family’s library.
Minnesota Historical Society Press
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Brenda J. Child is a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation.
The love of dogs is a universal language, and Child’s book takes that love and tells the story of Windy Girl, a girl with a huge imagination and big, big love of her dogs. Through her dreams, we see canine companions living out indigenous traditional stories told to her by her uncle in a silly, anthropomorphic way.
It comes with a companion retelling in the Ojibwe language, which is so interesting and important. I read this book about Indigenous Peoples’ Day to my nephew, and he giggled the entire time — and I know your kids will, too.
Harry N. Abrams
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S. D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Star People is a children’s adventure story told through the lens of Sioux children who go to run in a neighboring pasture, only to find themselves running from a prairie fire. Nelson tells their tale all while illustrating the belief of how the Sioux people are connected to the Earth, the animals, and the heavens.
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Roaring Brook Press
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Carole Lindstrom is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Ojibwe Nation.

The land lost a lot after colonization, and it is still losing much even now. We Are Water Protectors, Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal, urges readers to do as the Indigenous people of this land have done and protect its precious natural resources.
Told in lyrical prose, the story is haunting and inspiring. It is one of the most salient calls to protect the Earth as I’ve read, and that includes books like Silent Spring. It’s gorgeous, blunt, and entirely necessary.

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Cynthia Leitich Smith is a member of the Muskogee Creek Nation.
The story of a girl of Muskogee and Ojibwe heritage who dreams of learning the traditional jingle dances of her ancestors. It’s a completely relatable story of underestimating a project but believing in yourself enough to pull through and succeed. Follow Jenna as she sews her dress with her family, learns the dances, and eventually finds the steps needed to fulfill her dreams.

All of the books on this list are written by people Indigenous to North America, and there's something for everyone in the family on this list. We can't change history, but we can certainly learn from it.
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