From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
“By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis…”
Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” was pretty much the extent of any ‘Indian’ literature of my childhood. Well, that and a book about Squanto that I remember checking out at least once, possibly more. I seriously doubt I ever knowingly read anything by a Native American writer because there just weren’t many. Even books about different tribes were probably written by white authors.
Native, or Indigenous, authors are finally getting long overdue recognition by publishers and readers, from children’s picture books to serious reference works. It’s much easier to find books on topics that were practically ignored for many years.
One of the most visually stunning books to come out this year is “Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America” by Matika Wilbur. The author visited and photographed people from each of the 562 federally recognized Native American Tribal Nations, resulting in this examination of issues faced by modern-day Native people.
Another title that has become widely known and read is “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
If you prefer fiction, there are some excellent novels featuring Native characters that have been published in 2023 including “The Lost Journals of Sacajewea” by Debra Magpie Earling, “The Berry Pickers” by Amanda Peters, and “Blood Sisters” by Vanessa Lillie (who will be speaking at Books & Burrow this Saturday at 5:00 p.m.). Though he’s not Indigenous, William Kent Krueger writes very thoughtfully about Native people in his latest book, “The River We Remember.”
On Sunday, we’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Native American culture and heritage when Darcie Schultz presents “Land of Stories (aacimwahki)” at 2:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room.
An enrolled citizen of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Darcie will share personal narratives, winter stories, and the lunar calendar. She will also be our guest at this month’s “Cup of Conversation” on Thursday, November 16, at 10:00 a.m., when she’ll talk more about her history as well as being a local business owner (that would be Books & Burrow Bookstore). Both programs are free and open to the public. I hope you’ll make it to one, if not both, programs.
REMINDER: Remember to “fall back” and change your clocks so you won’t miss Sunday’s program!