The best books about indigenous peoples 📚

Browse the best books on indigenous peoples as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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

Solomon Islanders in World War II: An Indigenous Perspective

By Anna Annie Kwai

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books on indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

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Book cover of I Am Not a Number

I Am Not a Number

By Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland

Why 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…
From the list:

The best children’s books to spark conversations between generations

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

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

By Mahmood Mamdani

Why 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.

From the list:

The best book on contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism

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

The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth

By The Red Nation

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on winning socialism in our lifetime

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Book cover of The Break

The Break

By Katherena Vermette

Why this book?

Fair warning, you need to be in the right mood to take on this story. And it’s not quite a hidden gem since it has won numerous awards. It starts with a Metis woman who witnesses an assault on a barren ice-covered field on an isolated strip of utilities land outside her house in the Canadian Prairies. The story weaves through multiple narratives of people connected to the victim and exposes the reader to the lives and social issues that impact multiple generations of women in this indigenous family. Although difficult to read, it’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. As…

From the list:

The best hidden gems by Canadian writers

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Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Why this book?

At this point, it’s almost cliché to include Braiding Sweetgrass in a roundup of environmental books, but if ever there was a book worthy of being shared over and over, it’s this one! As an acclaimed plant ecologist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer is the master of marrying science with faith. To read her accounts of the natural world is to brush against magic.

From the list:

The best books about connecting to nature—no matter where you live

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