Read the book. Join the conversation.

Read the book. Join the conversation.

The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling

Raised among the Lemhi Shoshone, Sacajewea learns all the ways to survive. When her village is raided, she is kidnapped and then gambled away to Charbonneau, a French Canadian trapper. Now she must learn to survive in a new world teeming with fur trappers and traders. When Lewis and Clark’s expedition arrives, Sacajewea must cross a vast and brutal terrain with her newborn son, the white man who owns her, and a company of men who wish to conquer and commodify the world she loves. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

Winter in the Blood by James Welch

During his life, James Welch came to be regarded as a master of American prose, and his first novel, Winter in the Blood, is one of his most enduring works. The narrator of this beautiful, often disquieting novel is a young Native American man living on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana. Sensitive and self-destructive, he searches for something that will bind him to the lands of his ancestors but is haunted by personal tragedy, the dissolution of his once proud heritage, and Montana’s vast emptiness. Winter in the Blood is an evocative and unforgettable work of literature that will continue to move and inspire anyone who encounters it. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

From one of the most revered novelists of our time, an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. 

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface because Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. 

While his father, a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. 

The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange

Colorado, 1864. Star, a young survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre, is brought to the Fort Marion prison castle, where he is forced to learn English and practice Christianity by Richard Henry Pratt, an evangelical prison guard who will go on to found the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, an institution dedicated to the eradication of Native history, culture, and identity. A generation later, Star’s son, Charles, is sent to the school, where he is brutalized by the man who was once his father’s jailer. Under Pratt’s harsh treatment, Charles clings to moments he shares with a young fellow student, Opal Viola, as the two envision a future away from the institutional violence that follows their bloodlines. 
 
In a novel that is by turns shattering and wondrous, Tommy Orange has conjured the ancestors of the family readers first fell in love with in There There—warriors, drunks, outlaws, addicts—asking what it means to be the children and grandchildren of massacre. Wandering Stars is a novel about epigenetic and generational trauma that has the force and vision of a modern epic, an exceptionally powerful new book from one of the most exciting writers at work today and soaring confirmation of Tommy Orange’s monumental gifts. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. 

With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest’s mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite—or perhaps because of—his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo. 

Drawing deeply on Cherokee folklore, The Removed  seamlessly blends the real and spiritual to excavate the deep reverberations of trauma—a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories on both a personal and ancestral level. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

The Beadworkers by Beth Piatote

Told with humor, subtlety, and spareness, the mixed–genre works of Beth Piatote’s first collection find unifying themes in the strength of kinship, the pulse of longing, and the language of return. 
 
A woman teaches her niece to make a pair of beaded earrings while ruminating on a fractured relationship. An eleven–year–old girl narrates the unfolding of the Fish Wars in the 1960s as her family is propelled to its front lines. In 1890, as tensions escalate at Wounded Knee, two young men at college—one French and the other Lakota—each contemplate a death in the family. In the final, haunting piece, a Nez Perce–Cayuse family is torn apart as they debate the fate of ancestral remains in a moving revision of the Greek tragedy Antigone. 
 
Formally inventive and filled with vibrant characters, The Beadworkers  draws on Indigenous aesthetics and forms to offer a powerful, sustaining vision of Native life. 

Get the Book: Auntie’s | SCLD | Spokane Public Library

Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan

“Extraordinary…If you take up no other novel this year, or next, this one will suffice to hold, to disturb, to enlighten and to inspire you.” Newsday 

Early in this century, rivers of oil were found beneath Oklahoma land belonging to Indian people, and beautiful Grace Banket became the richest person in the Territory. But she was murdered by the greed of white men, and the Graycloud family, who cared for her daughter, began dying mysteriously. Letters sent to Washington, D.C. begging for help went unanswered, until at last a Native American government official, Stace Red Hawk, traveled west to investigate. What he found has been documented by history: rampant fraud, intimidation, and murder. But he also found something truly extraordinary–his deepest self and abiding love for his people, and their brave past. 

Get the Book: Auntie’sSpokane Public Library

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremonyremains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry.

Get the Book: Auntie’sSCLD

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters

July 1962. A Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Weeks later, four-year-old Ruthie, the family’s youngest child, vanishes. She is last seen by her six-year-old brother, Joe, sitting on a favorite rock at the edge of a berry field. Joe will remain distraught by his sister’s disappearance for years to come. In Maine, a young girl named Norma grows up as the only child of an affluent family. Her father is emotionally distant, her mother frustratingly overprotective. Norma is often troubled by recurring dreams and visions that seem more like memories than imagination. As she grows older, Norma slowly comes to realize there is something her parents aren’t telling her. Unwilling to abandon her intuition, she will spend decades trying to uncover this family secret. For readers of The Vanishing Half and Woman of Light, this showstopping debut by a vibrant new voice in fiction is a riveting novel about the search for truth, the shadow of trauma, and the persistence of love across time. 

Get the Book: Auntie’sSCLD | Spokane Public Library

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face myriad obstacles. His father’s injury at the hands of corrupt police, his mother’s struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and the legacy of centuries of injustice all intensify Ever’s bottled-up rage. Meanwhile, all of Ever’s relatives have ideas about who he is and who he shouldbe. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across Oklahoma to find security; his grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he’s connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself but also the next generation of family. 
 
How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn’t given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home. 

Get the Book: Auntie’sSCLD | Spokane Public Library