100 books like Becoming Kin

By Patty Krawec,

Here are 100 books that Becoming Kin fans have personally recommended if you like Becoming Kin. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Combining personal memoir and scrupulous history, this traces the long history of Indigenous resistance in the United States, showing it as a story of self-defence and struggles for sovereignty.

Starting with the remarkable Indigenous resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, Estes’s work manages to combine a readable introduction to complex history with an urgent recognition of the stakes involved in the fight for land, water, and natural resources today.

One of my favourite recommendations to anyone who wants to start understanding the deep roots of contemporary issues facing Indigenous communities.

By Nick Estes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our History Is the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan "Mni Wiconi"-Water is Life-was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue.

In Our History is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions…


Book cover of All Our Relations: Indigenous Trauma in the Shadow of Colonialism

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

A Canadian of Polish and Ojibwe descent, you can tell that Talaga is an experienced journalist, as this moving book is a combination of clear narrative and incisive research.

Starting with Canada, but then widening her lens to Indigenous communities across the world, Talaga shows how the violence of colonialism, the rupture from land and community, and the loss of heritage – compounded by socioeconomic deprivation – has resulted in an epidemic of youth suicide and generational trauma across Indigenous communities.

Talaga’s analysis is devastating, but also gives hope of a possible future reconciliation, through examples of resilience and the recovery of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

By Tanya Talaga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Our Relations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's Indigenous communities are fighting to live and dying too young. In this vital and incisive work, Tanya Talaga explores intergenerational trauma and the alarming rise of youth suicide.

From Northern Ontario to Nunavut, Norway, Brazil, Australia, and the United States, the Indigenous experience in colonised nations is startlingly similar and deeply disturbing. It is an experience marked by the violent separation of Peoples from the land, the separation of families, and the separation of individuals from traditional ways of life - all of which has culminated in a spiritual separation that has had an enduring impact on generations…


Book cover of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Andrés Reséndez estimates that between 2.4 and 4.9 million Indigenous Americans were enslaved between 1492 and 1900, a statistic that will shock many people, as the history of Native enslavement in the Americas barely seems to have touched the popular imagination.

This book, accessibly written but based on meticulous research, is absolutely essential reading, as it returns this ‘other slavery’ to its rightful place in our understandings of Indigenous, American, and global history.

By Andres Resendez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Slavery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as historian Andres Resendez illuminates in The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors and later forced to serve as domestics for Mormons and rich Anglos, or to descend into the "mouth of hell" of eighteenth-century silver mines, where, if they didn't die quickly from cave-ins, they would die slowly from silica in their lungs. Resendez builds the incisive,…


Book cover of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

David B. Allison Author Of Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders

From my list on memory that make you question how you see the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memory is capricious and impacts our view of the past. That’s why I do what I do! I am a twenty-year museum professional who began my career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for almost ten years, and am now part of the Arts & History department at the City and County of Broomfield. I have designed and developed programs and events, as well as managed teams in each of these stops. I seek to illuminate stories, elevate critical voices, and advocate for equity through the unique pathways of the arts, history, and museum magic.

David's book list on memory that make you question how you see the past

David B. Allison Why did David love this book?

Dee Brown’s landmark 1970 book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee provided a beautiful and much-needed antidote to the ‘march of the pioneers’ and Manifest Destiny narratives that held sway over much of the history of the western United States from 1850s-1890.

Over time, however, Brown’s book (and more specifically the massacre at Wounded Knee) became calcified as the ‘end point’ of histories about indigenous people. Treuer challenges this perspective by showcasing native resistance, resilience, and flourishing in the wake of Wounded Knee. Indigenous history is deep, varied, and filled with fascinating people and events—Treuer shows us how to find hope and joy in history even though there is also profound pain.

By David Treuer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named a best book of 2019 by The New York Times, TIME, The Washington Post, NPR, Hudson Booksellers, The New York Public Library, The Dallas Morning News, and Library Journal.

"Chapter after chapter, it's like one shattered myth after another." - NPR

"An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait... Treuer's powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation's past.." - New York Times Book Review, front…


Book cover of The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America

Yvonne Wakim Dennis Author Of Indigenous Firsts: A History of Native American Achievements and Events

From my list on unlearning stereotypes about Indigenous peoples.

Why am I passionate about this?

It is a healing gesture to honor Indigenous Americans and others during the month-long celebrations intended to remedy the omission of groups, whose origins are not European. We need more! Let's create inclusivity! In an inclusive society, who are the "them" and who are the "us?" We all need to be recognized as citizens of our country instead of occasional entertainment for "drive-by" tourists of diversity. Inclusivity also means caring for all who share our planet:  all other animals; waters; terrains; plants, etc. My award-winning books have usually been about Native peoples of North America, particularly the United States, and how we have always been here and still exist. 

Yvonne's book list on unlearning stereotypes about Indigenous peoples

Yvonne Wakim Dennis Why did Yvonne love this book?

Thomas King is one of my favorite authors so of course I think everyone should read all of his books, fiction and non-fiction. In The Inconvenient Indian, King shares an account of Indian—white relations in North America since the beginning. And he does it by chronicling official government Indian policy, pop culture, personal observations, wisdom, truth, and humor. He debunks stereotypes, recounts events accurately, and in spite of all the brutal truth-telling presents a way for Indigenous and those of the dominant culture to heal. My favorite King fiction work is Medicine River, which was made into a film (spoiler alert - he's in it!).  

By Thomas King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inconvenient Indian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian-White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada-U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

Suffused with wit, anger,…


Book cover of The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times

Margaret Paul Author Of The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting with Your Divine Guidance

From my list on healing and connecting with your Divine guidance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known since I was 5 years old that my passion in life was helping people be all they came to this planet to be. I have been working with individuals, couples, businesses, and groups, and teaching courses for 54 years. Having had many years of my own psychotherapy, and 17 years into practicing traditional psychotherapy, I was not happy with the results, so I prayed for a teacher or a process that would really work. 38 years ago, I met Dr. Erika Chopich and we co-created the powerful Inner Bonding process, brought to us by our higher guidance, that rapidly heals on a very deep level, far beyond traditional psychotherapy. 

Margaret's book list on healing and connecting with your Divine guidance

Margaret Paul Why did Margaret love this book?

Anita is a brilliant teacher of inclusion and diversity, and a fellow member of the Transformational Leadership Council. I couldn’t put her book down as she took me on her journey to claiming her personal power. The world needs this book now! Anita’s understanding of these four gifts and how important they currently are to our planet will deeply inspire you.  

By Anita L. Sanchez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Four Sacred Gifts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Heal your past, discover your true purpose, and become a powerful source of inspiration and leadership with The Four Sacred Gifts, a collection of Aztec and global indigenous wisdom for modern life.

Given the ongoing changes in our economic, social, political, and physical environment, we are often left gulping for air as we ride the powerful waves of change. Modern life overloads us with information yet lacks the true wisdom we seek. In this book, a group of global indigenous elders pass down their four most essential, agreed upon tools to help you fulfill your truest desire for meaning, wisdom,…


Book cover of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

Laura Galloway Author Of Dalvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra

From my list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!).

Why am I passionate about this?

Why I chose to write about cold climates: I spent nearly seven years living in the North of Norway in the Sámi reindeer herding village called Guovdageaidnu, or Kautokeino in Norwegian. I cherish my time in that part of the world. 

Laura's book list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!)

Laura Galloway Why did Laura love this book?

This is a little off-piste in that this isn’t exactly about cold climates; the main topic of Dodds Pennock’s book is about how Indigenous Americans discovered Europe. I first heard Dodds Pennock talk about her book at a lecture in London just a few months back and had to buy the book, which is a riveting account of the reverse migration of Indigenous Americans to Europe.  

Why include this book on the Arctic, you ask? Dodds Pennock also writes about a few Indigenous Inuit that make it to England, and I haven’t stopped thinking about the story she tells about their fraught lives in the UK and (until now) unknown or forgotten history in England. For example, she tells a gripping story of two Inuits who were abducted and brought to London in the 1570s and are buried in the city in unmarked graves at St. Olave’s Church. 

By Caroline Dodds Pennock,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On Savage Shores as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We have long been taught to presume that modern global history began when the 'Old World' encountered the 'New', when Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America in 1492. But, as Caroline Dodds Pennock conclusively shows in this groundbreaking book, for tens of thousands of Aztecs, Maya, Totonacs, Inuit and others - enslaved people, diplomats, explorers, servants, traders - the reverse was true: they discovered Europe. For them, Europe comprised savage shores, a land of riches and marvels, yet perplexing for its brutal disparities of wealth and quality of life, and its baffling beliefs. The story of these Indigenous Americans abroad is a…


Book cover of The Heart of Everything That Is

Sam Foster Author Of A Panther Crosses Over

From my list on the measure of a man.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 22, I joined the USMC for the same reason Socrates drank the hemlock. And since being so directly and harshly confronted with my own mortality at such a young age, I’ve not been able to shake the question, what is worth dying for? I study it in myself and I study it in others. We all die; we all know we will. That is boring in its ubiquity. What is fascinating is any choice that a man or woman may make which will cause him or her to give into it one breath early.   

Sam's book list on the measure of a man

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

The Sioux, Red Cloud, is known for his actions rather than his words. But his actions led not just to a draw with the US Cavalry but to the only treaty ever signed between the United States of American and an indigenous nation where America gave up land. Winning it back and living was even better than dying for it.

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heart of Everything That Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From bestselling authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin comes the epic, untold story one of the most powerful Sioux warriors of all time, Red Cloud—now adapted for a younger audience!

“I have but a small spot of land left. The Great Spirit told me to keep it.” —Red Cloud

This young readers edition of the New York Times bestseller of the same name tells the long forgotten story of the powerful Oglala Lakota chief, Red Cloud. At the height of Red Cloud’s power the Sioux claimed control of vast parts of the west. But as the United States rapidly expanded,…


Book cover of Art in the Time of Colony

William Gallois Author Of Qayrawān: The Amuletic City

From my list on Islamic art and it's hidden beauty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a scholar who has spent most of his working life looking at the history of North Africa. This passion was formerly directed toward looking at the conditions that Europeans imposed on local populations, but in recent times, I have moved solely to consider forgotten cultures made by indigenous Muslim and Jewish populations. Making this move has been the best, riskiest, and most rewarding choice I’ve ever made in my career, and I am now a cheerleader for the incredible forms of art made by ordinary people in these societies.

William's book list on Islamic art and it's hidden beauty

William Gallois Why did William love this book?

This was the book that convinced me that it is worthwhile exploring the past so as to rediscover and rethink works of art made by indigenous people living under imperial conditions.

I love its movement around the world, the close readings of works that no other scholars had ever considered, and the moral urgency that underpins every one of its lines.

By Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art in the Time of Colony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is often assumed that the verbal and visual languages of Indigenous people had little influence upon the classification of scientific, legal, and artistic objects in the metropolises and museums of nineteenth-century colonial powers. However colonized locals did more than merely collect material for interested colonizers. In developing the concept of anachronism for the analysis of colonial material this book writes the complex biographies for five key objects that exemplify, embody, and refract the tensions of nineteenth-century history. Through an analysis of particular language notations and drawings hidden in colonial documents and a reexamination of cross-cultural communication, the book writes…


Book cover of The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth

Danny Katch Author Of Socialism....Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation

From my list on winning socialism in our lifetime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a socialist for my entire adult life and a wise-ass for even longer. As a writer I’ve found a way to combine these two passions, using humor to introduce complex economic and political ideas to a new audience, as well as poke fun at politicians, CEOs, and even myself and my fellow activists. Not all of the books on this list use humor the way I do, but they have all helped me keep my sunny disposition by giving me inspiration that the socialist cause is more dynamic and multifaceted than ever. 

Danny's book list on winning socialism in our lifetime

Danny Katch Why did Danny love this book?

The Red Nation is a revolutionary Indigenous organization that is part of the historic 21st-century revival of Indigenous culture and political resistance that has emerged across the Americas to block oil pipelines, prevent mining projects, and basically lead the fight to save us all from climate extinction. This is their manifesto.

The Red Deal engages with many of the ideas of the “Green New Deal” proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, but starts from the standpoint of Indigenous people across the world. As a result, it puts the fight against climate change in the context of 500 years of capitalism and colonialism, and makes an inspiring case why everyone who wants a sustainable economy should support Indigenous people’s fights for their land and freedom.

By The Red Nation,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Red Deal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Red Nation released their call for a Red Deal, it generated coverage in places from Teen Vogue to Jacobin to the New Republic, was endorsed by the DSA, and has galvanized organizing and action.

Now, in response to popular demand, the Red Nation expands their original statement filling in the histories and ideas that formed it and forwarding an even more powerful case for the actions it demands.

One-part visionary platform, one-part practical toolkit, the Red Deal is a platform that encompasses everyone, including non-Indigenous comrades and relatives who live on Indigenous land. We-Indigenous, Black and people of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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