Hey there book lovers! Today, we're going to talk about something that's near and dear to my heart - the importance of reading Indigenous authors and books. Not only is it important to diversify our reading lists, but it's also crucial to support indigenous voices and perspectives in the literary world.
First off, let's get one thing straight - Indigenous authors are not a genre. Just like any other group of writers, Indigenous authors come from a variety of backgrounds and write about a variety of topics. From poetry to memoirs, fiction to non-fiction, Indigenous authors are producing a wide range of works that are both entertaining and informative.
But why should we bother reading books by Indigenous authors?
For starters, it's an opportunity to learn about different cultures and ways of life. By reading books by Indigenous authors, we can gain insight into the experiences of people who have been historically marginalized and whose stories are often left out of mainstream narratives.
And when you read multiple authors with Indigenous roots, you get a wide exposure of through processes as we are not a monolith. There are hundreds of tribes and nations within the US alone, not to mention those in Canada and our South of the Border cousins.
Reading Indigenous authors can also help us to decolonize our thinking.
We live in a world where colonialism and imperialism have had a profound impact on the way we view the world and the people in it. By reading books by Natives, we can challenge these assumptions and learn to see the world through different eyes.
There are so many biases that come up when we limit our exposure to storytelling outside of our comfort zone. When we have been force-fed lies and nonsense about Indigenous people since childhood here in America, it's easy to have some pretty wild assumptions or worse-believing we no longer exist. (Yes, I've had people SHOOK that I am Native as, "I thought they were all gone.")
Another important reason to read Indigenous authors is to support Indigenous communities.
Indigenous writers often face unique challenges in the publishing industry, such as being overlooked by publishers or being pigeonholed into writing about certain topics. By purchasing books by Indigenous authors, we can help to support these writers and ensure that their voices are heard.
It's wild that people think recommending Indigenous authors means I only want you to learn about the history of Thanksgiving.
No. Y'all realize there are Indigenous folk writing just about every genre? The fact that many don't shows how little representation there is in mainstream media. THIS is one of the pillar reason Paperbacks & Frybread even exists.
So, where do you start when it comes to reading Indigenous authors?
Oh I am so glad you asked.
Enjoy fantasy? They you HAVE to begin with either Darcie Little Badger or Rebecca Roanhorse. Roanhorse's Tread of Angels is one of my favorite books I've read in a while. The beautiful irony of an Indigenous women using Christian mythology to tell a story is just fantastic. It isn't what you think-it's so worth the read.
I CANNOT forget Melissa Blair and her book, A Broken Blade. This is a fantasy lover's dream book!
Into thrillers & horror? Stephen Graham Jones in the one for you. My Heart is a Chainsaw and The Only Good Indians are top sellers in the shop.
Another great rec is Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice which is a post-apocalyptic thriller.
Looking for some raw memoirs? Our Voice of Fire by Brandi Morin is centered on the issues of MMIW.
My Body is a Book of Rules is about Elissa Washuta's life with Bi-Polar disorder.
Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha Lapointe is another non-fiction that recently hit our shop.
Poetry your thing? Indigenous, I Am by Niltooli Wilkins is a far cry from the tumblr style poetry but digs in to some really vulnerable feelings.
Are you a reconnecting Native? My current favorite is Living Resistance by Kaitlin B. Curtice. If you are reconnecting while also deconstructing THIS is your dream book.
Another book for Natives looking to learn more would be Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future by Patty Krawec.
Wanna see our entire selection of Indigenous books that's being added to each week? Just click over HERE to see everything!
Not seeing anything you're interested in? Check out our Bookshop.org shop, HERE. You can also shop for indigenous audiobooks (that don't send rockets to space) HERE.
At the end of the day, reading indigenous authors and books is a crucial way to broaden our horizons, challenge our assumptions, and support marginalized voices in the literary world. So, next time you're looking for a good read, consider picking up a book by an indigenous author - you won't be disappointed.