Recognizing the history, contributions, and path forward for the indigenous communities of North America requires all of us to look past the disassociated narratives that we’ve been presented in conventional history books. Instead, to honor the culture and people of Native America, we can look to diversity of narratives told by the people who have lived them and are living them today.
If you have the day off this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, check out one of these three (or maybe all three) of these books to get your read on.
2The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Despite having sustained a campaign of existential and cultural genocide, it’s critical to understand that the power of indigenous culture shouldn’t be relegated to a tragic history bin of the past — there’s so much to look to in national current events that reveal the dynamics of advocates and activists working within communities across the country. Just consider the powerful acts of resistance at places like Standing Rock or Mauna Kea.
A member of the Ojibwe Tribe, David Treuer’s book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present positions itself from this empowered perspective, a much needed alternative to Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee which characterized the massacre at Wounded Knee as the symbolic, tragic end of Native America; Treuer’s book, instead, recognizes the way that indigenous people still thrive and have shaped the course of contemporary America.