100 books like Indians in Unexpected Places

By Philip J. Deloria,

Here are 100 books that Indians in Unexpected Places fans have personally recommended if you like Indians in Unexpected Places. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Andrew Amelinckx Author Of Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age

From my list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history.

Who am I?

I’ve been enthralled with history since childhood thanks to my late father, a college professor with a passion for the past. Our house was always filled with history books of all types and my father was a veritable encyclopedia who enjoyed answering my questions. When I became a crime reporter in the early 2000s, my predilection for history merged with my interest in crime and I ended up writing four books centered around historical crimes ranging in time from the 1700s to the 1960s. 

Andrew's book list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history

Andrew Amelinckx Why did Andrew love this book?

David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon gives the viewer a window into a piece of Native American culture in 1920s Oklahoma as well as the inner workings of the brand-new FBI under its narcissistic and despotic head J. Edgar Hoover.

For me, the heart of the story is the Osage people and their struggle to prosper in the face of racism, corruption, and murder. That’s not to say that Grann doesn’t do a brilliant job with the FBI investigation into the killings. 

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Killers of the Flower Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover…


Book cover of Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions

J. Baird Callicott Author Of American Indian Environmental Ethics: An Ojibwa Case Study

From my list on American Indian worldviews and ecological wisdom.

Who am I?

After “the environmental crisis” came to popular attention in the 1960s, American Indians were portrayed as having a legacy of traditional environmental ethics. We wanted to know if this were true. But how to gain access to ideas of which there is no written record? Answer: analyze stories, which have a life of their own, handed down from one generation to the next going all the way back to a time before European contact, colonization, and cultural, as well as murderous, genocide. And the stories do reveal indigenous North American environmental ethics (plural). That’s what American Indian Environmental Ethics: An Ojibwa Case Study demonstrates.

J.'s book list on American Indian worldviews and ecological wisdom

J. Baird Callicott Why did J. love this book?

Living two generations after Black Elk, Lame Deer begins his life story with a vivid description of his own vision quest—a rite of passage for Lakota youth.

After purification in the sweat lodge, alone on a hill in the darkness, he learned that his wish to become a medicine man was to be granted. While Black Elk’s story is solemn and tragic, Lame Deer’s is spiced with humor and humanity. He gets drunk and goes to jail. He climbs to the top of Mount Rushmore and sits on Teddy Roosevelt’s head.

But he explains, in all seriousness, the symbolism of the sacred pipe, the meaning of the Sun Dance, and the secrets of the shaman.

By Richard Erdoes, John (Fire) Lame Deer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Storyteller, rebel, medicine man, Lame Deer was born almost a century ago on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. A full-blooded Sioux, he was many things in the white man's world - rodeo clown, painter, prisoner. But, above all, he was a holy man of the Lakota tribe. The story he tells is one of harsh youth and reckless manhood, shotgun marriage and divorce, history and folklore as rich today as ever - and of his fierce struggle to keep pride alive, though living as a stranger in his own ancestral land.


Book cover of Wooden Leg: A Warrior Who Fought Custer

Philip Burnham Author Of Song of Dewey Beard: Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn

From my list on true stories about Indian country.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching, writing, and learning about Indian issues, past and present, for more than four decades. I taught for several years on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and for years I was a correspondent for Indian Country Today and reported from reservations across the country and several Mexican states. I’ve written and published widely about rez issues including cultural repatriation, land use, Native corporations, language preservation, environmental dumping, and Indian law. I’ve spent a lot of time listening, watching, and reading before putting my own thoughts down on paper, and these are some of the books that have deeply moved me.

Philip's book list on true stories about Indian country

Philip Burnham Why did Philip love this book?

For more than eighty years, the Cheyenne warrior Wooden Leg did a bit of just about everything. He joined a warrior society as a boy, fought against Custer and Crook in the Indian Wars, rode as an army scout, served as a tribal judge, converted to Christianity, and had to divorce one of his two wives (a heartrending scene!) before his new religion would accept him. His story is told by Thomas Marquis, a Cheyenne agency physician, who translated Wooden Leg’s story from sign language since they didn’t speak each other’s mother tongue. This is one of the best accounts of how Plains Indian men negotiated the challenge of transitioning from traditional ways to life on the reservation.

By Thomas B. Marquis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wooden Leg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Told with vigor and insight, this is the memorable story of Wooden Leg (1858-1940), one of sixteen hundred warriors of the Northern Cheyennes who fought with the Lakotas against Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Wooden Leg remembers the world of the Cheyennes before they were forced onto reservations. He tells of growing up on the Great Plains and learning how to be a Cheyenne man. We hear from him about Cheyenne courtship, camp life, spirituality, and hunting; of skirmishes with Crows, Pawnees, and Shoshones; and of the Cheyennes' valiant but doomed resistance against the army of the…


Book cover of A Voice In Her Tribe: A Navajo Woman's Own Story

Philip Burnham Author Of Song of Dewey Beard: Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn

From my list on true stories about Indian country.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching, writing, and learning about Indian issues, past and present, for more than four decades. I taught for several years on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and for years I was a correspondent for Indian Country Today and reported from reservations across the country and several Mexican states. I’ve written and published widely about rez issues including cultural repatriation, land use, Native corporations, language preservation, environmental dumping, and Indian law. I’ve spent a lot of time listening, watching, and reading before putting my own thoughts down on paper, and these are some of the books that have deeply moved me.

Philip's book list on true stories about Indian country

Philip Burnham Why did Philip love this book?

Thankfully, not all Indian stories are written or recounted by men. Irene Stewart, born at the base of Canyon de Chelly in 1907, grew up in the shadow of her father, a medicine man who had her kidnapped and taken against her will to boarding school. She survived three of those schools, including Haskell Institute, where she learned to bob her hair, studied home economics, and later became a Presbyterian. But this is no simple tale of assimilation. Like many of her schoolmates, she remained attached to tribal ways and remained true to Navajo tradition even while transforming herself for the world beyond the rez. 

By Irene Stewart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Voice In Her Tribe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of Irene Stewart, a Navajo woman, told in her own words. Born in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, she was raised by her grandmother after the death of her mother and the departure of her father. Yet her life has not been that of the traditional woman rug weaver of the sheep camp. From the moment when, at the age of nine, her father sent a Navajo policeman to kidnap his daughter from formal schooling, she was set on a path toward becoming a bilingual-bicultural Indian. She has learned to live in both Navajo and white American…


Book cover of The Patriot Chiefs: A Chronicle of American Indian Resistance

Mary Stockwell Author Of Unlikely General: Mad Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America

From my list on the history of the American West.

Who am I?

Born and raised in Ohio, the “First West,” I was trained by top historians of the American West at the University of Toledo where I received my doctorate in American History. I’ve worked as a university and research fellow, a writer in the business world, and a professor of history and department chair at Lourdes University. I left my teaching and administrative career to become a full-time writer. Along with Unlikely General, my recent books have included The Other Trail of Tears: The Removal of the Ohio Indians and Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians. Currently, I’m writing a dual biography of William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh.

Mary's book list on the history of the American West

Mary Stockwell Why did Mary love this book?

Historians have written moving accounts of the discovery and settlement of the American West, but Alvin Josephy in The Patriot Chiefs tells the same story from the “other side,” meaning from the point of view of the many Indian chiefs who tried to stop the advance of first, the American colonies, and then, the American nation. One by one, their lives and their struggles light up before the reader. Although I read the book years ago, Josephy’s vivid portraits of Hiawatha, King Philip, Popé, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Osceola, Black Hawk, Crazy Horse, and Chief Joseph stay alive in my imagination to this very day. Their stories, like those of every daring explorer and hardy pioneer who made their way west, must be remembered as part of the great story of America.

By Alvin M. Josephy Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A valuable chronicle of the greatness and majesty of the Indian chiefs."-Christian Science Monitor

Told through the life stories of nine Indian chiefs, this narrative depicts the American Indian effort to preserve a heritage and resist the changes brought by the white man. Hiawatha, King Philip, Pope, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Osceola, Black Hawk, Crazy Horse, and Chief Joseph each represent different tribal backgrounds, different times and places, and different aspects of Indian leadership. Soldiers, philosophers, orators, and statesmen, these leaders were the patriots of their people. Their heroic and tragic stories comprise an integral part of American history.

"Josephy tells his…


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.

Who am I?

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 Wraeththu: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire

Heather Ashle Author Of An Heir of Realms

From my list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much.

Who am I?

My favorite fantasy novels tend to be rather complex. Winding plotlines, mysteriously interconnected characters, whimsical settings, and intricate, thoughtful worldbuilding combine to create immersive stories that stick in the mind like overworn folklore. Time travel or interworld travel lend additional layers of intrigue and mystery, forcing the inescapable contemplation of a more thrilling, alternate reality. And if it’s all packaged in artful, breathtaking prose that breeds full-color images, audible noises, indelible flavors, nose-crumpling odors, and tangible textures, I will happily lose myself in the pages, truly forgetting about the strictures of everyday life… at least until I get hungry and remember I need to consume more than books to survive.

Heather's book list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much

Heather Ashle Why did Heather love this book?

As the kid who roamed the halls between classes with a book in my hand, I suspect Wraeththu gave my nerd façade an impressive boost: technically an omnibus of three stories, Wraeththu is very thick—in both binding and plot. It follows the emotionally charged and mesmeric tales of a hermaphroditic race that is steadily subsuming the human one in a Darwinian battle for biological perfection. We follow the journeys of a few characters as they navigate the mental and physical growing pains inherent in joining a new race and the wild tribes and communities that have emerged in the wake of their hermaphroditic transformations. Dark, fascinating characters and cultures drive this story to its unusual climax when their true purposes are stunningly revealed.

By Storm Constantine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here at last in a single volume are all three of Constantine's Wraeththu trilogy: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and far more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won't…


Book cover of Shadow Woman

Steve Liskow Author Of Oh Lord, Won't You Steal Me a Mercedes Benz

From my list on mysteries featuring feisty females.

Who am I?

I grew up in a family of strong women, and have always been drawn to women with brains and a sense of humor. When I worked in theater as an actor, director, and designer, my favorite stage manager and designers were women because they looked at the production challenges from a different angle than mine, so we both learned something while coming up with the best possible ideas and solutions. I can’t stand fluffy “victim” females. The women in my stories are always looking for a better way and a better world. Both my detective series feature several strong, resourceful women that complement the male detective, adding humor and insight, and—I hope—more humanity.

Steve's book list on mysteries featuring feisty females

Steve Liskow Why did Steve love this book?

American Indian Jane Whitefield rescues people the police can’t protect and helps them find new identities and new homes. But now her job is complicated because Pete Hatcher, a Vegas gambling executive, is the target of Earl and Linda, a lethal tag team who will become very rich if Hatcher dies. The job is even more complicated because Jane has recently married Corey, a successful local surgeon, so it’s harder to maintain a low profile in the town. When Earl and Linda hone in on Corey, Jane realizes she has to protect her own family as well as her client, and her foes know every trick that she knows, too.

By Thomas Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her latest adventure, Jane Whitefield, who helps people in trouble disappear from one life and establish a new identity, is hired by a Las Vegas gambling casino executive running from contract killers. But the killers are on the trail of the shadow woman and soon Jane becomes the principle target of their rage and revenge.


Book cover of American Indian Myths and Legends

Pamela K. Kinney Author Of Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales

From my list on paranormal to scare up myths and legends.

Who am I?

Long before I began writing my first fictional story and way before I researched for my first nonfiction paranormal book, I gave up ignoring the voices in my head and began writing horror, fantasy, and six nonfiction books on the paranormal in Virginia. Besides learning a new piece of history or legend I never knew before, the research for my nonfiction books and articles inspired me to incorporate it into my horror or fantasy fiction. I enjoy writing fiction, but I believe I learn as much as my readers when I write nonfiction. 

Pamela's book list on paranormal to scare up myths and legends

Pamela K. Kinney Why did Pamela love this book?

There are more than 160 tales from eighty tribal groups in this book. They are various tales of creation and love, heroes and war, animals, tricksters, and the world’s end, many from contemporary Indigenous voices. Hopefully, these stories enable others who are not Native American but still want to read what many indigenous tribes taught to their children as a reason for the history of their peoples.

By Richard Erdoes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than 160 tales from eighty tribal groups present a rich and lively panorama of the Native American mythic heritage. From across the continent comes tales of creation and love; heroes and war; animals, tricksters, and the end of the world. 

“This fine, valuable new gathering of ... tales is truly alive, mysterious, and wonderful—overflowing, that is, with wonder, mystery and life" (National Book Award Winner Peter Matthiessen). In addition to mining the best folkloric sources of the nineteenth century, the editors have also included a broad selection of contemporary Native American voices.
 


Book cover of Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks

Megan Kate Nelson Author Of Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America

From my list on America’s National Parks.

Who am I?

I grew up in Colorado and visited national parks all over the country on summer vacations with my family. Now I write about U.S. Western history while living outside Boston, Massachusetts. My most recent book, The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West (Scribner 2020) was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in History. I have written about the Civil War and the U.S. West for The New York TimesWashington PostThe Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, and Civil War Monitor. Scribner will publish my next book, Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America, on March 1, 2022. 

Megan's book list on America’s National Parks

Megan Kate Nelson Why did Megan love this book?

Neither Muir nor Sellars pay much attention to Indigenous communities living in or near national parks—Dispossessing the Wilderness puts the lie to the claim that Native peoples were afraid of or have vanished from these places. Spence examines the Indigenous histories of Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite, and concludes that while white federal officials expended a tremendous amount of energy promoting the myth that the nation’s national parks are “uninhabited wildernesses,” Indigenous communities have continued to claim them in various ways. Compelling and wide-ranging in its analysis, this is a must-read for fans of the national park system.

By Mark David Spence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dispossessing the Wilderness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines the ideal of wilderness preservation in the United States from the antebellum era to the first half of the twentieth century, showing how the early conception of the wilderness as the place where Indians lived (or should live) gave way to the idealization of uninhabited wilderness. It focuses on specific policies of Indian removal developed at Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier national parks from the early 1870s to the 1930s.


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