The best books about indigenous peoples

Who picked these books? Meet our 58 experts.

58 authors created a book list connected to indigenous peoples, and here are their favorite indigenous peoples books.
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The Heart of Everything That Is

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Book cover of The Heart of Everything That Is

Sam Foster Author Of A Panther Crosses Over

From the list on the measure of a man.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Sam's favorite books.

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.

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,…

Empire of Wild

By Cherie Dimaline,

Book cover of Empire of Wild

W. L. Hawkin Author Of To Charm a Killer

From the list on mythic fiction exploring complex psychology.

Who am I?

All of us bear the scars of emotional wounds, as complex psychology beats at the heart of all relationships. I’ve personally survived the betrayal of a parent, the loss of a child, emotional abuse, and life with an addict who could look me in the eye and lie. These themes resound in my stories. Literature is a safe place to explore and heal our own traumas through the dramatic interactions of our characters. My witch killer is not just “crazy” he’s unraveling a complex psychological past. In standing with our heroes as they meet and conquer evil, in its many guises, we find our way to healing our own trauma. 

W. L.'s book list on mythic fiction exploring complex psychology

Discover why each book is one of W. L.'s favorite books.

Why did W. L. love this book?

I read this book twice, cover-to-cover and back-to-back. First, to find out what happens to our feisty Métis hero, Joan of Arcand, and then again to savor Dimaline’s lyrical writing. When Mere (her grandmother) is murdered by a wolfish shape-shifting creature—a rogarou—we find ourselves trapped in a mythic Métis world. “A dog, a man, a wolf. He was clothed, he was naked in his fur, he wore moccasins to jig.” Carrying a ground-up salt bone for protection, Joan ventures into the Empire of Wild to slay the rogarou who killed Mere and reclaim her husband. Like her hero, Dimaline is brave and fearless, pouring history, politics, and religion into her cauldron, then stirring with a branch of magic realism and psychological terror. Dimaline is my hero.

By Cherie Dimaline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the most anticipated books of the summer for Time, Harper's Bazaar, Bustle and Publishers Weekly

'Deftly written, gripping and informative. Empire of Wild is a rip-roaring read!'
Margaret Atwood

'Empire of Wild is doing everything I love in a contemporary novel and more. It is tough, funny, beautiful, honest and propulsive'
Tommy Orange, author of There There

'Dimaline turns an old story into something newly haunting and resonant'
New York Times

'An utterly compelling blend of propulsive narrative, starkly beautiful writing and passionate, near dysfunctional love'
Daily Mail

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching…


By Graham Harvey,

Book cover of Animism: Respecting the Living World

Gavin Van Horn Author Of Planet

From the list on a living kinship with the more-than-human world.

Who am I?

I remember, as a very young child, clandestinely sneaking out of the house on humid Houston nights to gather toads. How my parents never caught me in the act, I do not know. I only know holding these amphibians in my hands felt special, magical even. This compulsion toward other creatures speaks to the unfolding of my lifelong learnings, a path that led me to a PhD in Religion and Nature and then to work for the Center for Humans and Nature. I’ve never stopped reflecting on how humans might better care for our earthling kin, and I don’t suspect I’ll ever cease marveling at the earth’s wild generativity. 

Gavin's book list on a living kinship with the more-than-human world

Discover why each book is one of Gavin's favorite books.

Why did Gavin love this book?

I first met Graham when I was a PhD student attending a conference on religion & animals. He is a person who seems drawn to and across boundaries of scholarship, and though this book is scholarly, it’s also a totally accessible overview of the ways in which animism is not some primitive ideology but, rather, core to human experience and cultures all over the world. Harvey provides a careful treatment of historical and contemporary animist perspectives, nonhuman personhood, and the formation of animistic sensibilities. He details how animism fosters a constant dialogue between humans and non-human persons—a kind of social, spiritual, and ecological conversation that is continuously negotiated. Animism is not a thing of the past; it’s a way of life that is vital to a viable future. 

By Graham Harvey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different…

Original Wisdom

By Robert Wolff,

Book cover of Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing

Elizabeth Fournier Author Of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial

From the list on if you literally want to go green when you die.

Who am I?

Saving the planet one death at a time is truly what the world needs now: to reduce our carbon footprint and go out in eco-friendly style. As the one-woman funeral service in the rural town of Boring, Oregon, I support the philosophy of old-school burial practices that are kinder to both humans, the earth, and our wallets. I have humbly been baptized the Green Reaper for my passionate advocacy of green burial, and as an undertaker and the owner and undertaker of Cornerstone Funeral, the first green funeral home in the Portland area. I love to devour all literature possible on green burial and environmentally friendly death care.

Elizabeth's book list on if you literally want to go green when you die

Discover why each book is one of Elizabeth's favorite books.

Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Green burial is not a new idea; it has been practiced for thousands of years and is still commonly practiced around the world. Green burial is also starting to be used as an avenue of enabling the restoration and preservation of habitat. The tradition of green (or natural) burials dates back to ancient times. For most of human history, in cultures where bodies were buried, the body was placed in a grave, perhaps wrapped in a shroud or in a simple box, directly into the ground. Robert’s chapters provide sustenance for the world full of people who exist in complete harmony with the natural world and with each other.

By Robert Wolff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

• Explores the lifestyle of indigenous peoples of the world who exist in complete harmony with the natural world and with each other.

• Reveals a model of a society built on trust, patience, and joy rather than anxiety, hurry, and acquisition.

• Shows how we can reconnect with the ancient intuitive awareness of the world's original people.

Deep in the mountainous jungle of Malaysia the aboriginal Sng'oi exist on the edge of extinction, though their way of living may ultimately be the kind of existence that will allow us all to survive. The Sng'oi--pre-industrial, pre-agricultural, semi-nomadic--live without cars or…

Mad White Giant

By Benedict Allen,

Book cover of Mad White Giant

Charlie Walker Author Of Through Sand & Snow: a man, a bicycle, and a 43,000-mile journey to adulthood via the ends of the Earth

From the list on solo adventure.

Who am I?

I started solo travelling as soon as I left school, and since then I’ve spent many years doing so. I came of age while cycling, kayaking, hiking and skiing across distant lands. The bittersweetness of being alone on the road has become a source of constant fascination for me. The on-again-off-again loneliness creates a state of mind where you’re that much more willing to throw yourself in at the deep end, to meet strangers, and to look, listen and learn. At its very best, solo travel writing seamlessly encompasses two journeys: the physical journey in a foreign land, and the psychological journey within the author.

Charlie's book list on solo adventure

Discover why each book is one of Charlie's favorite books.

Why did Charlie love this book?

This journey is simultaneously a descent into fear and chaos and an ascent into manhood. An excitable young man on his first solo journey deliberately throwing himself way out of his depth in the Orinoco basin. Allen’s aim to learn how to survive in the jungle from the indigenous peoples who’ve thrived there for centuries is a pattern he came to repeat throughout his career and one that many explorers should learn from. Things take a turn when he overhears a plot on his life and he makes a solo one-month escape from the jungle with only the clothes on his back.

By Benedict Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is Benedict Allen's first book - a tale of triumphs, mishaps, dangers and sheer bloody-minded endurance but, at another level, an exploration of the Amazon's dark themes of allurement and exploitation. At the age of 22, inspired by a youthful aspiration to be an explorer, Allen set out to travel from the mouth of the Orinoco to the mouth of the Amazon. But as he stumbled through the Amazonian jungle, he was soon confronted by the harsh reality of his isolation in the midst of potentially perilous territory. Mercifully, the experience of living in the rainforest among indigenous Indians…

Five Little Indians

By Michelle Good,

Book cover of Five Little Indians

E.M. Spencer Author Of Freedom Reins

From the list on Canadian historical fiction with strong females.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian who enjoys travelling and reading historical fiction from around the world. Having had the privilege of living in a variety of areas in Canada from coast to coast since childhood, I can recall listening to the stories of past generations and exploring the locations where some of these events took place. With a passion for Canada’s beauty and the history of its people, I like to research, explore, and incorporate these passions into my own stories.

E.M.'s book list on Canadian historical fiction with strong females

Discover why each book is one of E.M.'s favorite books.

Why did E.M. love this book?

This is a story of children torn from their homes and forced to live in the horrific conditions of residential schools. Imprisoned and away from the love and protection of families and communities, many were abused for years by people whose words may have preached God’s love but whose actions demonstrated darker intentions. A few children managed to escape while many others were carelessly released to the unforgiving streets of east Vancouver where some managed to navigate their way through life while others succumbed to the demons that haunted them.

Having personally seen the impact this has had on people in my community, including family members, I feel that the characters may be fiction, but the story is a very real example of a shameful time in Canadian history where the effects continue through generations.

By Michelle Good,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER: Canada Reads 2022

WINNER: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

WINNER: Amazon First Novel Award

WINNER: Kobo Emerging Author Prize 

Finalist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist: Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Prize

Finalist: BC & Yukon Book Prize

Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Awards

National Bestseller; A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year; A CBC Best Book of the Year; An Apple Best Book of the Year; A Kobo Best Book of the Year; An Indigo Best Book of the Year

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy,…

The Break

By Katherena Vermette,

Book cover of The Break

Cayla Bellanger DeGroat Author Of The Real History of Thanksgiving: Left Out of History

From the list on the power of Indigenous stories, identity, and histories.

Who am I?

I'm an avid reader, lover of history, and newly-published author of The Real History of Thanksgiving (with more projects in the works!). I'm a mother of two and come from a large family at Gaa-waabigaanikaag, White Earth Reservation. I'm enrolled citizen of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. I'm also an Oneida descendent with Irish, French, and Black ancestry. Much of my journey as a writer has been exploring the threads of our humanity and histories. It's powerful to think that we are still here, through time, distance, love, pain, and survival. There is immense beauty in being human and being Indigenous, and these books have been a source of connection and learning in my journey.

Cayla's book list on the power of Indigenous stories, identity, and histories

Discover why each book is one of Cayla's favorite books.

Why did Cayla love this book?

I randomly found The Break in a bookstore and was drawn in by the cover, which features a light-skinned Indigenous woman wearing a black dress covered in florals. It immediately reminded me of a ceremonial dress that was taken from White Earth long ago and now sits in a museum in Washington DC.

There is grief in the many removals and losses Indigenous people have endured through the years, and real human consequences that echo down the generations. But I feel fuller and wiser when I get to explore this through other’s perspectives.

There are many characters to keep track of in this book, but it is gratifying to get lost in their journeys, gleaning insights and teachings from their stories.

By Katherena Vermette,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2018
Crime Book of the Month, Sunday Times, February 2018

'I loved this... very tough and very real.' - Margaret Atwood

When Stella, a young mother in an Indigenous community, looks out her window one wintry evening and spots someone being attacked on the Break - a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house - she calls the police. By the time help arrives, all that is left of the struggle is blood on the snow. As the search for the victim intensifies, people…

Words of the Lagoon

By R.E. Johannes,

Book cover of Words of the Lagoon: Fishing and Marine Lore in the Palau District of Micronesia

Peter F. Sale Author Of Coral Reefs: Majestic Realms Under the Sea

From the list on on being a coral reef scientist.

Who am I?

Peter Sale has managed to spend an entire career exploring coral reefs, perhaps the most fascinating ecosystem on this planet.  From 1964 when he commenced a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, through faculty positions in Australia, the USA, and Canada, and with a final stint with the United Nations University, he has been able to explore the wonders of coral reef systems in many places around the world.  His life has been rewarding, because of the new science he did, the students and colleagues he worked with, and the sheer joy he experienced diving on reefs. His many technical writings include the 1991 book, The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, which became a classic among reef researchers, students, and some sport divers.

Peter's book list on on being a coral reef scientist

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

There has been growing recognition that our scientific understanding of environmental matters can be enhanced if we would only listen to the wisdom of indigenous peoples. This recognition only occasionally leads to a serious effort by environmental scientists to learn from indigenous peoples. Dr. Robert Johannes was a tropical fisheries biologist who, in the mid-1970s, was well ahead of his time when he took time out of a busy academic career to spend a couple of years on tiny, remote islands in Palau, Micronesia to learn from elders how to catch fish. This book is a non-technical account of what he learned. It reveals the considerable depth of knowledge on fishes, their habits, and effective ways to catch them that Micronesian natives possessed, and it also reveals the humility and humanity of its author. 

After this experience, Johannes devoted the rest of his career to ensuring that traditional knowledge was…

By R.E. Johannes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Words of the Lagoon is an account of the pioneering work of a marine biologist to discover, test, and record the knowledge possessed by native fisherman of the Palau Islands of Micronesia.

Book cover of Solomon Islanders in World War II: An Indigenous Perspective

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From the list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Discover why each book is one of Lin's favorite books.

Why did Lin love this book?

Anna Annie Kwai is a Solomon Islander historian who brings together documentary historical sources with oral history and personal recollections to tell the story of the war in the Southwest Pacific from the point of view of Solomon Islanders themselves—including the work of the famous “coastwatchers,” the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the rescue of the crew of Lt. John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. An essential addition to the study of the Southwest Pacific war.

By Anna Annie Kwai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Solomon Islanders in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Solomon Islands Campaign of World War II has been the subject of many published historical accounts. Most of these accounts present an ‘outsider’ perspective with limited reference to the contribution of indigenous Solomon Islanders as coastwatchers, scouts, carriers and labourers under the Royal Australian Navy and other Allied military units. Where islanders are mentioned, they are represented as ‘loyal’ helpers. The nature of local contributions in the war and their impact on islander perceptions are more complex than has been represented in these outsiders’ perspectives. Islander encounters with white American troops enabled self-awareness of racial relationships and inequality under…

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

By Ambelin Kwaymullina,

Book cover of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From the list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Who am I?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Discover why each book is one of Amra's favorite books.

Why did Amra love this book?

This is a great dystopian young adult novel with red herrings and revelations that kept me reading to the end.

Kwaymullina draws on her Aboriginal heritage to create a world in which people have lost touch with nature and digital technology is forbidden because it led to disconnection of society.

Citizens with special abilities are called Illegals and are assessed and locked up because government officials view them as a threat, with the treatment of Illegals symbolising the mistreatment of Indigenous people by the Australian government.

It reads like a prophecy about our possible future with themes of environmental destruction due to climate change even as it stands as a testament to the scars left by Colonisation. This is a perfect dystopian novel with all the tropes that readers love: the young female inspirational leader, a heartfelt romance, and found family.

By Ambelin Kwaymullina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a post-apocalyptic world, Ashala Wolf must lead her Tribe in their fight for freedom and justice. But first she must survive an interrogation at the hands of the authorities who are determined to destroy her and everything she stands for.

The world has ended, and the society which emerged from the ruins of environmental catastrophe is obsessed with maintaining "the Balance": preserving harmony between humans and nature. But there is one problem. Anyone born with an ability is deemed an Illegal, a threat to the Balance. They are feared, controlled and detained. Ashala Wolf has run away to escape…

Citizen and Subject

By Mahmood Mamdani, Mahmood Mamdani,

Book cover of Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Author Of The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991

From the list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism.

Who am I?

I am a Somali scholar in the field of Somali Studies and African Studies, specialising in anthropology, history, and the politics of Somali society and state(s). I am recognised as an authority and expert on the historical and contemporary Somali conflicts in the Diaspora and back home. I am a Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I am tasked to study the political economy of Mogadishu. I am also a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where I deliver lectures about the genesis of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa and the Civil War in Somalia. 

Mohamed's book list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism

Discover why each book is one of Mohamed's favorite books.

Why did Mohamed love this book?

This is one of the most compelling books written on Africa. The author insightfully and thoughtfully reassesses the predicament and plight of the African continent with regards to socio-cultural development, institution-building, nation-building, and state-building. The book – both challenging and stimulating as it is – proves to be a somewhat difficult read as the author alternately targets scholars of African studies more than students of Africa as his main audience and recipients.

By Mahmood Mamdani, Mahmood Mamdani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy--a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant--apartheid--as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining…


By Kishan Lara-Cooper, Walter J. Lara Sr.,

Book cover of Ka'm-t'em: A Journey Toward Healing

Mneesha Gellman Author Of Indigenous Language Politics in the Schoolroom: Cultural Survival in Mexico and the United States

From the list on US Indigenous politics and cultural survival.

Who am I?

As a Jew growing up in the United States, I’ve spent a long time reflecting on how genocide, culturecide, and assimilation operate across majority-minority relations. My focus on Indigenous politics in my career as a political scientist stems from a devotion to pluricultural democracy as a way that people can live together well. I want to be part of a world where we can bring our whole selves to our societies and don’t have to cut out certain parts of our identities to be accepted. And I like to read well-researched, compellingly written books that offer insight into how communities do that.

Mneesha's book list on US Indigenous politics and cultural survival

Discover why each book is one of Mneesha's favorite books.

Why did Mneesha love this book?

Ka’m-t’em both describes how communities can heal from colonization, and is itself a product of that healing. This book brings up so many emotions: shame around White violence, hope to build a community of support for Indigenous peoples, and longing for a decolonized future. The chapters featuring youth voices at the end of the book are particularly moving, as we hear from teenagers in their own words as to why they are willing to fight for their identities, and what everyone can do to help.

By Kishan Lara-Cooper, Walter J. Lara Sr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ka'm-t'em as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many generations ago, along the Klamath River, there lived a wise woman who wove the most beautiful baskets known to humankind. Her baskets were woven so tightly that water could not penetrate them. She was aging and had many experiences to share. Through prayer, she began to weave a basket for the people. The wise woman worked day after day, weaving, praying, and singing. As her strong hands moved gracefully over her materials, she shared a story to be retold, a song to be sung again, and a lesson to be learned. When she finished, she had created a large…

When We Were Alone

By David A. Robertson, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Book cover of When We Were Alone

Mary Shaw Author Of Basil's Unkie Herb

From the list on I wish I could have read to my children.

Who am I?

I really am passionate about children and education. Reading to children is such a joy especially when they snuggle in and get absorbed in the story. Education is the only way to achieve some sort of equity in our world. The world I knew as a child is no more and that is a good thing. Cruel biases and intolerance hurt so many. Today there is more freedom and the potential to live true to yourself whatever that may be. I like books that show the diversity of our humanity, that can be read to children to broaden their understanding, acceptance, and tolerance of family which may be very different from their own.

Mary's book list on I wish I could have read to my children

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

This book is a conversation between a grandchild and their grandma who is a residential school survivor. With childlike simplicity, grandma explains why her colourful clothes, long hair, and treasured time with her brother are a reaction to being taken “from community” and being sent “far far away”. Grandma talks about students forced to wear uniforms, cut their hair, forbidden from speaking Cree, and separation from her brother.

This is a book I would probably have steered clear of “not wanting to frighten my children” when I was parenting, David Roberson does a masterful job of gently laying out facts without explanation or accusation. The book opens the door to further questions and conversations that have to be had but are very difficult to start. This is a great start.

By David A. Robertson, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Were Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak Cree and spend so much time with her family? As she asks questions, her grandmother shares her experiences in a residential school, when all of these things were taken away.

Also available in a bilingual Swampy Cree/English edition.

When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award in the Young People's Literature (Illustrated Books) category, and was nominated for the TD Canadian's Children's Literature Award.

Love After the End

By Joshua Whitehead (editor),

Book cover of Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction

Morgan Thomas Author Of Manywhere

From the list on folks seeking genderqueer ancestry.

Who am I?

I came to genderqueer histories searching for a reflection of myself that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment (the rural American South). Early on, I thought I’d found it—historical figures, both real and fictional, who shared my gender identity. But as I’ve continued to research, I’ve realized that the reflections of history are less a mirror image, more a reflection in water—fluid and distorting. Genderqueer people throughout history use different language for their identities, navigate different social and family systems, and express their gender in different ways. In the space created by this difference, I’ve begun to understand my gender as a thing that changes, too, across space and time.

Morgan's book list on folks seeking genderqueer ancestry

Discover why each book is one of Morgan's favorite books.

Why did Morgan love this book?

In one of the stories from this exceptional anthology, “How to Survive the Apocalypse for Native Girls,” Kai Minosh Pyle writes “we are future ancestors.” As the title suggests, this is a forward-looking anthology which imagines Indigenous worlds after “the end.” But it is also a book grounded in Two Spirit and Indigiqueer histories, one whose stories remember the historic acceptance and affirmation of queer and genderqueer Indigenous people as they reach toward Indigiqueer liberation.

By Joshua Whitehead (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lambda Literary Award winner

This exciting and groundbreaking fiction anthology showcases a number of new and emerging 2SQ (Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous) writers from across Turtle Island. These visionary authors show how queer Indigenous communities can bloom and thrive through utopian narratives that detail the vivacity and strength of 2SQness throughout its plight in the maw of settler colonialism’s histories.

Here, readers will discover bio-engineered AI rats, transplanted trees in space, the rise of a 2SQ resistance camp, a primer on how to survive Indigiqueerly, virtual reality applications, motherships at sea, and the very bending of space-time continuums queered through…


By Mischa Berlinski,

Book cover of Fieldwork: A Novel

Dian Seidel Author Of Kindergarten at 60: A Memoir of Teaching in Thailand

From the list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick.

Who am I?

After retiring from a career in climate science, I reinvented myself as an English teacher, a yoga instructor, and a writer. I write personal essays about my life experiences, in particular my time teaching in Thailand. Before I traveled to Thailand, while I was there, and when I returned home to the US, I devoured every book I could find that could help me make sense of Thai culture and manage as a farang (foreigner, Westerner) in the Land of Smiles. Here are my five picks for helping other farangs understand Thailand.

Dian's book list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick

Discover why each book is one of Dian's favorite books.

Why did Dian love this book?

If the subtitle of Fieldwork wasn’t A Novel, I might have tagged it differently, because Mischa Berlinski is the name of both the author and the first-person narrator of this intricately woven tale.

The story, a murder mystery with cross-cultural dimensions, spans generations and continents and includes a fictional Thai hill tribe, early 20th-century American missionaries, mid-century Western anthropologists, and Mischa, a contemporary American journalist.

I loved that Mischa and his girlfriend move to Thailand on a whim after she learns online that all one needs to teach abroad is “a native command of English and a healthy pulse.” That observation and other aspects of her experience teaching in Thailand mirrored my own.

By Mischa Berlinski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When his girlfriend takes a job in Thailand, Mischa Berlinski goes along for the ride, planning to enjoy himself and work as little as possible. But one evening a fellow expatriate tips him off to a story: a charismatic American anthropologist, Martiya van der Leun, has been found dead - a suicide - in the Thai prison where she was serving a life sentence for murder.Curious at first, Mischa is soon immersed in the details of her story, and this brilliant, haunting novel expands into a mystery set among the Thai hill tribes, whose way of life became a battleground…

Sand Talk

By Tyson Yunkaporta,

Book cover of Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

Chris Smaje Author Of Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future: The Case For an Ecological Food System and Against Manufactured Foods

From the list on why we must adopt low-impact local food systems.

Who am I?

I started my career as an academic social scientist and seem set to end it as a gardener, small-scale farmer, and accidental ecological activist. I’ve learned a lot of things along the way from these different parts of my life that I channel in my writing. I don’t claim much expertise. In fact, I think claims to expert knowledge that can ‘solve’ modern problems are a big part of our modern problems. I’ve always been interested in how people and communities try to figure things out for themselves, often by picking up the pieces when big ideas have failed them. My writing arises out of that.

Chris' book list on why we must adopt low-impact local food systems

Discover why each book is one of Chris' favorite books.

Why did Chris love this book?

It’s easy to get caught up in the immediate issues around food, farming, and the need to transition to localism.

Yunkaporta’s book weaves them into a far larger tapestry concerning the need for renewable long-term culture. I like the way he sharpens indigenous knowledge unsentimentally into a practical tool with a purpose that’s potentially available to everyone, not a mystical cosmology available only to a few.

Endlessly thought-provoking ruminations on how to live from a local ecological base, and how modern culture disrupts us from doing so.

By Tyson Yunkaporta,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sand Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner, Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards 2020

This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrödinger’s cat.

Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently?

Sand Talk provides a template for living. It’s about how lines and symbols and shapes can help us make sense of the world. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about…

Cradle of Sea and Soil

By Bernie Anés Paz,

Book cover of Cradle of Sea and Soil

Set Sytes Author Of India Bones And The Ship Of The Dead

From the list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Discover why each book is one of Set's favorite books.

Why did Set love this book?

Due to the rarity of pirate fantasy novels out there (that is, if we aren’t including romance novels, which others well might), I’m going to cheat a little bit with this (instead of picking something more well-known like the superlative Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb).

There are no pirates in Cradle of Sea and Soil; I would instead describe it an indigenous Caribbean fantasy with a beautifully and uniquely defined colour-based magic system and exciting, monstrous elements of Lovecraftian horror.

I’m recommending this novel partly because it’s a wonderful story, partly because indigenous Caribbean-inspired fantasy is even rarer than pirate fantasy, but also, in the context of this list, to be a “pirate in the Caribbean” asks questions about foundations: that maybe the stories rest not just on the nature of the setting itself, but are tied up (though usually unacknowledged) with the existence (or once existence) of indigenous…

By Bernie Anés Paz,

Why should I read it?

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

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 the 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

Discover why each book is one of Yvonne's favorite books.

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,…

I Am Not a Number

By Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland (illustrator)

Book cover of I Am Not a Number

Nhung N. Tran-Davies Author Of Ten Cents a Pound

From the list on to spark conversations between generations.

Who am I?

I am an author, physician, mother of three, and an advocate for social justice in education. I came to Canada as a refugee from the Vietnam war when I was a young child. I love to write children's stories that convey the humanity in our lives. My books have been shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award, Red Maple Award, and Blue Spruce Award.

Nhung's book list on to spark conversations between generations

Discover why each book is one of Nhung's favorite books.

Why did Nhung love this book?

We as a nation and society are on the road to truth and reconciliation. Critical to that journey are stories such as I Am Not a Number. The book tells the heartbreaking story of Irene, the author’s grandmother, and her brothers who were taken away from their home on Nipissing First Nation to live at a residential school, very far from home. At the school, names are not used. All students are known by numbers. This story will inspire important conversations that will help younger generations understand the horrors so many indigenous children endured in the residential schools. It is a dark part of our history, kept secret by past generations, that is only now coming to light through these powerful stories.

By Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Not a Number as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when…

The Creator's Game

By Allan Downey,

Book cover of The Creator's Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood

Jason Wilson and Richard M. Reid Author Of Famous for a Time: Forgotten Giants of Canadian Sport

From the list on the impact of sport on social history.

Who are we?

Between the two of us, we have written over a dozen books and won numerous prizes. Wilson, when not writing critically-acclaimed music or explaining how to catch a haggis, has received the Ontario Historical Association’s Joseph Brant Award for King Alpha’s Song in a Strange Land. Reid, who wisely passed up the chance of a law career in order to play an extra year of soccer, received the C. P. Stacey Award for African Canadians in Union Blue. Both writers believe that sports offer a valuable lens by which to examine a society’s core values.

Jason's book list on the impact of sport on social history

Discover why each book is one of Jason's favorite books.

Why did Jason love this book?

Most Canadians are likely unaware that Canada has an official national summer game and that it is lacrosse. Even fewer realize that the sport reflects a tangled story of appropriation and reappropriation that exposes complex relationships between European and Indigenous peoples.

In a provocative and creative book, Downey, an Indigenous historian, uses First Nations storytelling and his own rigorous research to follow the transformation of lacrosse by Anglophone Montrealers and their exclusion of Indigenous players.

By the end of the nineteenth century, lacrosse was the most popular sport in Canada, before giving way to hockey. Then, almost a century later, the sport was reclaimed by a new generation of Indigenous athletes and activists who used the game as part of a broader cultural and spiritual renewal.

For these athletes, the current goal is to have the Haudenosaunee Nationals recognized as an independent participant at the Olympic Games in 2028.

By Allan Downey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lacrosse has been a central element of Indigenous cultures for centuries, but once non-Indigenous players entered the sport, it became a site of appropriation - then reclamation - of Indigenous identities. The Creator's Game focuses on the history of lacrosse in Indigenous communities from the 1860s to the 1990s, exploring Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations and Indigenous identity formation. While the game was being appropriated in the process of constructing a new identity for the nation-state of Canada, it was also being used by Indigenous peoples to resist residential school experiences, initiate pan-Indigenous political mobilization, and articulate Indigenous sovereignty. This engaging and innovative…