10 books like The First Oregonians

By Laura Berg (editor),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The First Oregonians. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

With Her Own Wings

By Helen Krebs Smith, Gladys Chilstrom,

Book cover of With Her Own Wings: Historical Sketches, Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Pioneer Women

We often think of Oregon pioneers were hardy men setting off for a new promised land. In reality, the women who made the perilous journey and carved a life out of the Oregon wilderness are the real heroes. This book captures the pioneer spirit of the women who ventured out west, and those already in the land. One of the things I like best about this book is the narrative fashion - as if we are living in the shoes or moccasins of the women featured. There is a great article about Sacajawea, the only woman in the Lewis and Clark expedition.

With Her Own Wings

By Helen Krebs Smith, Gladys Chilstrom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked With Her Own Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a new release of the original 1948 edition.


Schoolmarms

By Helen Rees Guyton,

Book cover of Schoolmarms

This book details the life of Ada Bell, a young woman who traveled all by herself to the tiny community of Bakeoven, Oregon to teach school. The “town” consisted of a hotel, a blacksmith’s shop, a store, a post office, a stage stop - and not much more. Ada got off the stage with no idea where to go or how to start her life as a teacher. Ada encapsulates the pioneer spirit as she forges a life and impacts the lives of her students over the years.

Schoolmarms

By Helen Rees Guyton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clever sketches by Elizabeth Rocchia enliven the pages of first-hand experiences Ada Bell recorded in diaries, themes, and poems.


Christians on the Oregon Trail

By Jerry Rushford,

Book cover of Christians on the Oregon Trail: Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in Early Oregon, 1842-1882

You may not realize that the reason many came across the Oregon Trail was because of their religious and moral beliefs. Christians on the Oregon Trail highlights many well-known Oregon pioneers and details how their Christian beliefs inspired them both on the trail and once they arrived in Oregon. Some of those detailed are: Jason Lee, the Whitmans, Reuben Lewis, and many others. The book gives you also some of the theological underpinnings of the pioneers. 

Christians on the Oregon Trail

By Jerry Rushford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christians on the Oregon Trail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Doctor in Oregon

By O. Larsell,

Book cover of The Doctor in Oregon: A Medical History

The history of the medical profession in Oregon is not what you might think. It wasn’t started by a bunch of scientists. Early “practitioners” were more snake oil salesmen than doctors. In fact, it was many years before any sort of standards existed. O. Larsells book gives all that history in all its less-than-stellar beginning. Among those highlighted are William Lysander Adams who was a vocal opponent of medical quackery.

The Doctor in Oregon

By O. Larsell,

Why should I read it?

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


Moccasin Trail

By Eloise Jarvis McGraw,

Book cover of Moccasin Trail

This historical fiction novel features nineteen-year-old Jim Keath, born white, but rescued and adopted by the Crow when he was badly wounded by a bear. He lives as a trapper now, avoiding both sides of his life, but when his younger siblings write to him, asking for his help in staking a land claim, he can't run from his past anymore. The story deals beautifully and honestly with human nature, the harsh realities of survival in Oregon Territory, and the importance of family. And the stark western landscape plays a large part in the story.

Moccasin Trail

By Eloise Jarvis McGraw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A pioneer boy, brought up by Crow Indians, is reunited with his family and attempts to orient himself in the white man's culture.


Assembled for Use

By Kelly Wisecup,

Book cover of Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilation and the Archives of Early Native American Literatures

Though we are thankful for the current movements to decolonize archives and museums, from at least 1750, Native writers have been doing this important survival work of asserting Native ways of knowing. This revelation is the subject of Wisecup’s ground-breaking study. It shows how early Native writers assembled lists, collages, and literary texts that, through juxtaposition and recontextualization, resisted the way colonial archives defined their bodies, belongings, and words as ethnographic evidence of vanishing peoples. Wisecup offers revealing ways to read the Indigenous compilations of key figures like Mohegan Samson Occom’s medicinal recipes, Ojibwe Charlotte Johnston’s poetry scrapbooks, and Abenaki leader Joseph Laurent’s vocabulary lists. We also deeply appreciate how Wisecup ends each chapter by connecting the early writer it focuses on to contemporary Indigenous culture.

Assembled for Use

By Kelly Wisecup,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A wide-ranging, multidisciplinary look at Native American literature through non-narrative texts like lists, albums, recipes, and scrapbooks

"An intricate history of Native textual production, use, and circulation that reshapes how we think about relationships between Native materials and settler-colonial collections."-Rose Miron, D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library

Kelly Wisecup offers a sweeping account of early Native American literatures by examining Indigenous compilations: intentionally assembled texts that Native people made by juxtaposing and recontextualizing textual excerpts into new relations and meanings. Experiments in reading and recirculation, Indigenous compilations include Mohegan minister Samson Occom's medicinal…


Creation's Journey

By Tom Hill (editor), Richard W. Hill (editor),

Book cover of Creation's Journey: Native American Identity and Belief

Creation’s Journey ties actual native stories and beliefs with genuine artifacts from the vast collections of the National Museum of the American Indian. It provides a refreshing approach to our understanding of indigenous people’s utilitarian objects and how important they are in their daily lives. The photos in this book show the care for detail and craftsmanship that was pervasive in everyday Native American objects and clothing. It inspired me to commission native Americans to hand make the various costumes shown in my book.

Creation's Journey

By Tom Hill (editor), Richard W. Hill (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creation's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on the vast collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, Creation’s Journey retells the story of native life from the Arctic to the Tierra del Fuego, and from childhood to old age.


Powwow's Coming

By Linda Boyden,

Book cover of Powwow's Coming

Powwow's Coming is a simple, colorful, and “full of dancing descriptions” that show the fun and importance of powwow celebrations. Linda is part Native and part teacher and fully a creative author and illustrator. She explains in rhyming narrative the reasons for the gathering of many tribal members at a powwow to share dancing, chanting, and drumming. Powwow’s Coming is a perfect read aloud for younger “listeners.” Boyden has included a teachers’ resource page so the book can easily be incorporated into different curriculums.

Powwow's Coming

By Linda Boyden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Powwow's Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Powwow's coming, hear the beat? Powwow's coming, dancing feet. Powwow's coming, hear the drum? Powwow's coming, everyone! Frustrated as a school teacher not being able to find good instructional materials on American Indians, Linda Boyden has bypassed the tired stereotype of Indians on horseback or hunting game and placed them in today's setting of a powwow. ""Powwow's Coming"" provides children with a foundation for understanding and celebrating the enduring culture and heritage of American Indians. Boyden's exquisite cut-paper collage and engaging poem visually place readers within the scenes of a contemporary Native American community while offering a thoughtful look at…


Fathers and Children

By Michael Paul Rogin,

Book cover of Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian

If you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, Andrew Jackson would be a great candidate for psychotherapy, but no historian would ever actually try to view his life through Freudian analysis,” well, think again.  Psychohistory enjoyed a brief moment in the sun during the 1970s and Rogin’s posthumous placement of Jackson on the couch was one of its shining examples. This book examines Jackson’s childhood trauma and fatherless upbringing as a major factor in his attitude and treatment of Native Americans throughout his life. Readers might find the analysis that dominates the second half of the book to be a bit dated in psychological terms, but Rogin offers a provocative way to explain Jackson’s confusing blend of patronizing and pathology towards Native Americans in the Early American Republic. 

Fathers and Children

By Michael Paul Rogin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rogin shows us a Jackson who saw the Indians as a menace to the new nation and its citizens. This volatile synthesis of liberal egalitarianism and an assault on the American Indians is the source of continuing interest in the sobering and important book.


American Indian Myths and Legends

By Richard Erdoes,

Book cover of American Indian Myths and Legends

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.

American Indian Myths and Legends

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.
 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Native Americans, Oregon, and Oregon pioneer history?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Native Americans, Oregon, and Oregon pioneer history.

Native Americans Explore 160 books about Native Americans
Oregon Explore 46 books about Oregon
Oregon Pioneer History Explore 5 books about Oregon pioneer history