Honoring National Native American Heritage Month

Posted on: November 29, 2021

November is Native American Heritage Month, an opportunity to honor, celebrate, and learn. Here are 5 ways you can join:

1. Read books by Indigenous authors: View our recommendations below—4 recent books by Indigenous women that you can check out.

2. Learn about local Indigenous communities: Familiarize yourself with the Native American communities of the Shenandoah Valley (from Dr. Carole Nash).

3. Learn about land acknowledgements: Learn about making an Indigenous Land and Enslaved Peoples Acknowledgement (from the Center for Faculty Innovation).

4. Watch a movie from the Native American film collection of 302 streaming videos in Kanopy – an award-winning video streaming service providing access to more than 30,000 independent and documentary films, available to you for free as a member of the JMU community.

5. Explore one of our newest databases: Indigenous Peoples of North America, a comprehensive collection of documents from American and Canadian governments, institutions, and tribal publications.

4 Books by Indigenous Women

These recent books were written by Indigenous women authors, whose work we want to honor and learn from.

The Night Watchman (2020)
by Louise Erdrich

This 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction is “a majestic, polyphonic novel about a community’s efforts to halt the proposed displacement and elimination of several Native American tribes in the 1950s, rendered with dexterity and imagination.” —As quoted on the Pulitzer Prize website

Crooked Hallelujah (2020)
by Kelli Jo Ford

“At once critical and empathetic, Ford paints strikingly candid portraits of four generations of Cherokee women in all their human complexity, rather than reducing them to figures in a political allegory.” —High Country News, as quoted on the author’s website

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (newest edition 2020)
by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“…an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most—the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and the meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.” —Jane Goodall, as quoted on the author’s website

Black Sun (2020)
by Rebecca Roanhorse

“A perfect balance between powerful worldbuilding and rich thematic exploration as the protagonists struggle against their fates… Fantasy fans will be wowed.” —Publisher’s Weekly, as quoted on the author’s website

More Ways to Learn

Visit nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov to learn about even more ways to celebrate, learn, and connect during National Native American Heritage Month.

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