Native American Heritage Month

Since the early 1990s November has been proclaimed a month to celebrate the history and contributions of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States.

The People Shall Continue     The People Shall Continue / written by Simon J. Ortiz ; illustrated by Sharol Graves
The history of the native people of America beginning at the creation and continuing to the present day is told as a teaching story that is comprehensive, concise and realistic.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet     The Legend of the Bluebonnet: an Old Tale of Texas / retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
The drought and famine had taken away She-Who-Is-Alone’s family. All she has left is the doll her mother made her with the blue feathers of the jay her father brought. The shaman of the Comanche tells the people that they have become selfish, and only the sacrifice of their most valued possession to the spirits would bring back the rains. She-Who-Is-Alone knows what she must do.

Thanks to the Animals     Thanks to the Animals / Allen Sockabasin ; illustrated by Rebekah Raye
When winter comes a Passamaquoddy family in Maine makes its winter migration inland. But on the way baby Zoo Sap tumbles off the sled into the cold snow! Hearing his cries of distress, the animals of the forest gather around him to keep him warm, until his father comes to rescue him and thank the animals.

When Turtle Grew Feathers     When Turtle Grew Feathers: a Folktale from the Choctaw Nation / Tim Tingle ; illustrated by Stacey Schuett
Texas storyteller Tim Tingle tells the Choctaw version of the race between the tortoise and the hare. This time it’s not slow and steady that wins the race, but the one who makes a friend.

The Good Luck Cat     The Good Luck Cat / Joy Harjo ; illustrated by Paul Lee
A girl explains how her cat, Woogie, is a good luck cat. Her aunt says she’s a good luck cat because petting Woogie helped her win at Bingo. Petting Woogie helped her mistress find her favorite beaded earrings to wear to the spring powwow. But Woogie can use some of the good fortune herself. She’s already used up eight of his nine lives in encounters with other cats, dogs, boys, automobiles, trees and clothes dryers. Woogie has been missing for four days now and the girl is very worried.

For Older Readers

The Birchbark House     The Birchbark House / Louise Erdrich 
Omakayas admires her older sister, Angeline. She dotes on her baby brother, Neewo. But she cannot stand her annoying little brother, Pinch. He makes too much noise and he’s always pestering her and demanding special treatment and extra attention. She would much rather harvest rice, gather maple sap or scare crows with Angeline or baby sit and cuddle Neewo.

Other than Pinch, life on the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker in Lake Superior among her Ojibwa tribe and the French traders and missionaries is peaceful and pleasant. But in the winter of 1847 a visiting stranger brings the deadly smallpox to the island and changes life forever.

Rain Is Not My Indian Name     Rain Is Not My Indian Name / Cynthia Leitich Smith
Cassidy Rain Berghoff’s older brother and guardian tries to persuade her to join her aunt’s Indian Camp program. She needs campers, because in their small Kansas town there are not many Native Americans, in fact, Rain and her brother are some of the few in the area, representing as they do the Muscogee Creek-Cherokee-Scots-Irish-German-Ojibway-Saginaw Chippewa-American, or as their mother put it the “patchwork” tribe.

It’s been just six months since the morning of her fourteenth birthday when she learned that her best friend, who she been out with the previous night was dead, and Rain isn’t up for this camp, but rather than spend any more time grieving at home, she instead goes to work as a photographer for the local paper. Her first assignment is, you guessed it, Indian Camp.