Books: Native American 




 I buy and read lots of books. On Native Americans these are the best I have found over the years. I cannot guarantee these are the best for you, but at least you will not get a total loser here. If the topics don't relate to you, use the search above to find other Native American books.

Red Thunder: by David Matheson. This book is not only a good story about a young man growing up as a Schi'tsu'umsh (Coeur d'Alene); it also illustrates what life was like in the 1700's. What emerges is a better understanding of what it was like to live as a partner with nature in this area. Tribal and family values, spiritual life and a sense of belonging to the land from the time of creation are part of the story. Matheson is a member of this tribe, and has chosen to share some of the authentic traditional culture, in order to give both Native and non-native readers better insight into a way of life that developed over thousands of years in this area. Red Thunder is also recommended by Ernest Stensgar, Tribal Chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

Mourning Dove: by Mourning Dove, edited by Jay Miller. Mourning Dove was the first Native American woman author. A Salishan woman, born in the 1880's, her life spanned the incredible changes in this area. She saw that  her (and her people's) history was in danger of being lost, and sought to share her experience in a format that could be shared with Europeans. This book is a compilation of the attempts she made over the years at an autobiography. To see what native culture in this area was like, from the mouth of one who lived it, don't miss this book! Mourning Dove also wrote down many of the Coyote Stories of this area before they were lost.

Sacred Sites of the West: by Frank Joseph. This is a guide of mystical centers from the Keremeos Mound to the Petroglyph Park to the Mysterious Mountain to the Sasquatch to Beacon Rock Covering the spiritual as well as the physical aspects of many magical sites unknown even to adepts on the subject. What is a sacred site? It is a place of singular numinous mystical power generated by focused spiritual forces sometimes known as vortexes. Whether put there by historical events, or by cosmic and natural forces, few people who seek out these places will fail to be mightily impressed by the mystery and beauty.

Half-Sun on the Columbia: by Ruby & Brown. Chief Moses was born in Vantage and ruled over the middle areas of the Washington state. He made Chief Garry nervous sometimes as people loved to follow this great chief that had to ride a horse at least 10 miles a day. This is a great story that gives you whole new areas (Moses Coulee) to explore. One of the major resources for understanding the Natives of this area.

Renegade Tribe: by Trafzer & Scheuerman. This is the story of the Palouse Tribe which was one of the most rebellious of all the areas tribe. A tribe that has been totally dispersed with no reservation given to them because they were the tribe that never accepted the rights of whites to take the land from them. Highly recommended.

Warrior of the Mist: by T.G. Boyden. A biography of Qualchan, chief Owhi's son. This is the true story of one of the major warriors of the 1850 wars in Spokane area. This Indian had incredible stories told about him creating snow storms to defeat his enemies, and he is the main person in the hangman creek incident. This is the most inspiring true story of Indians I have read. There are so many versions of the story of his death it creates mystery.

The Spokane Indians: by Ruby & Brown. This was a noble, peaceful, honest, and spiritual tribe. This is the main book on them. See One Prophecy.

Books by Sherman Alexie:

Sherman Alexie, of the Spokane Tribe, has produced a considerable amount of work since his debut in 1992. His medium changes, from poetry to novel to mystery to screenplay, but there is a common bittersweet chord in each. If you're tired of reading what Europeans think Indians think, check out Alexie.
Alexie is not an easy read (that's meant to be a compliment.) Count on all your previous ideas about "Native Americans" being challenged if not changed.
One of his poems (about salmon) is on display on the ground floor of the Downtown Public Library. Occasionally, you can catch a reading in Spokane, often with music by Jim Boyd.

The Business of Fancy Dancing (1992) Poems and Stories

Old Shirts and New Skins (1993) Poetry by Alexie and others

First Indian on the Moon (1993) Poems and stories

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1994) Short stories

Reservation Blues (1996) Novel- my favorite so far. What happens when you mix Robert Johnson with a reservation rock band.

Indian Killer (1998) Novel

Smoke Signals (1998) Novel, made into a really good film. Here's the soundtrack and the video, and the DVD.

Toughest Indian in the World (2000) Stories

One-Stick Song (2000) Mixed genre