Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. According to the US Census around 4% of Scotts Bluff County residents are “Native American alone.” This does not count the many folks who have a Native American parent or grandparent. 

I find one of the nice things about being a reader is the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes and learn about their life in a personal way. A study published in the “Harvard Business Review” says reading fiction improves your critical thinking and makes you more empathetic. 

As readers, we use books as mirrors to show us ourselves, but we also use books as windows to show us other people, other countries and other cultures. These books are written by native folks, which is one of the best ways to learn about another culture- from someone who belongs to it.

The following are some of the more recent books by Native American authors you can find in the Gering Library. As I compiled this list, I noticed that we need to add more books for school-aged children. I was also not able to find any recent books in our collection by Lakota authors. If you happen to know of any, please let us know. You are always welcome to let us know what you would like to see at the library.


“Fry Bread” picture book by Kevin Noble Malillard (Seminole).

“Thunder Boy Junior” picture book by Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene).

“The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses” picture book by Paul Goble (non-native) set in Lakota country.

“The Forever Sky” picture book by Thomas Peacock (Anishinaabe Ojibwe).

“The Used-to-be Best Friend” Jo Jo Makoons grade school fiction series by Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe).

“Mary and the Trail of Tears” grade school fiction by Andrea L Rogers (Cherokee).


“The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfoot) a horror novel about elk hunting which has won multiple awards

“Calling for a Blanket Dance” by Oscar Hokeah (Cherokee/Kiowa) about a Cherokee/Mexican family trying to hold onto their heritage

“Shutter” by Ramona Emerson (Dine) the main character is a forensic photographer with a secret that helps her solve crimes.

“The Sentence” by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) an ex-convict sets out to solve a bookstore murder.

“There, There” by Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapahoe) set at a California Powwow, it explores the complicated ties people have to each other.


“Path Lit by Lightning: the life of Jim Thorpe” by David Maraniss, a 570 page biography of the athlete.

“Trickster: Native American Tales- a graphic collection” compiled by Matt Dembecki. This is a collection of trickster tales from across North America.

“Spirits of the Earth: a guide to Native American nature symbols, stories, and ceremonies” by Bobby Lake-Thom (Karuk and Seneca).

“Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the present” by David Treuer (Ojibwe).

“The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage: Lessons in resilience from the bow and arrow” by Joseph M. Marshall III (Lakota) is available on Overdrive.

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