Sacramento Public Library

Spotlight on American Indian Fiction

    Celia's Song

    Celia's Song - Lee Maracle

    Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who - despite being convinced she's a little off - must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews.

    Ceremony - Leslie Marmon Silko

    On a New Mexico reservation, one Navajo family--including Tayo, a World War II veteran deeply scarred by his experiences as a Japanese POW and by the rejection of his own people--struggles to survive in a world no longer theirs in the years just before and after World War II.
    Cogewea, The Half Blood: A Depiction of the Great Montana Cattle Range

    Cogewea, The Half Blood: A Depiction of the Great Montana Cattle Range - Mourning Dove

    One of the first known novels by a Native American woman, Cogewea (1927) is the story of a half-blood girl caught between the worlds of Anglo ranchers and full-blood reservation Indians; between the craven and false-hearted easterner Alfred Densmore and James LaGrinder, a half-blood cowboy and the best rider on the Flathead; between book learning and the folk wisdom of her full-blood grandmother.
    Extra Indians

    Extra Indians - Eric Gansworth

    Every winter, Tommy Jack McMorsey watches the meteor showers in northern Minnesota. On the long haul from Texas to Minnesota, Tommy encounters a deluded Japanese tourist determined to find the buried ransom money from the movie Fargo. When the Japanese tourist dies of exposure in Tommy Jack's care, a media storm erupts and sets off a series of journeys into Tommy Jack's past as he remembers the horrors of Vietnam, a love affair, and the suicide of his closest friend, Fred Howkowski. Exploring with great insight and wit the ways images, stereotypes, and depictions intersect with, Extra Indians offers a powerful glimpse into contemporary Native American life.
    Fools Crow

    Fools Crow - James Welch

    In the Two Medicine Territory of Montana, the Lone Eaters, a small band of Blackfeet Indians, are living their immemorial life. The men hunt and mount the occasional horse-taking raid or war party against the enemy Crow. The women tan the hides, sew the beadwork, and raise the children. But the year is 1870, and the whites are moving into their land. Fools Crow, a young warrior and medicine man, has seen the future and knows that the newcomers will punish resistance with swift retribution. First published to broad acclaim in 1986, Fools Crow is James Welch's stunningly evocative portrait of his people's bygone way of life.
    La Maravilla

    La Maravilla - Alfred Vea, Jr.

    A nine-year-old half-Indian, half-Mexican boy struggles to find his place in the world in a novel set in the desert outside of Phoenix in 1958.
    Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta: Celebrated California Bandit

    Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta: Celebrated California Bandit - John Rollin Ridge

    In 1854, a Cherokee Indian called Yellow Bird (better known as John Rollin Ridge) launched in this book the myth of Joaquin Murieta, based on the California criminal career of a 19th century Mexican bandit. Today this folk hero has been written into state histories, sensationalized in books, poems, and articles throughout America, Spain, France, Chile, and Mexico, and made into a motion picture.
    Mean Spirit

    Mean Spirit - Linda Hogan

    After oil is discovered on land owned by the Grayclouds, the find the wealth to be a blessing and a curse as they suffer at the hands of greedy businessmen, law enforcement, and government officials.
    Night Sky, Morning Star

    Night Sky, Morning Star - Evelina Zuni Lucero

    This compelling novel plunges readers into the hubbub of the Indian arts market and into the grim reality of prison life. Evelina Zuni Lucero introduces us to experiences we may find unfamiliar: diverse Native American traditions, life on a BIA Indian agency compound, the making of an Indian activist. But she also reintroduces us to two things we all live for: the power of story and the power of love.
    Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki = Queen of the Woods

    Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki = Queen of the Woods - Simon Pokagon

    Simon Pokagon, the son of tribal patriarch Leopold Pokagon, was a talented writer, advocate for the Pokagon Potawatomi community, and tireless self-promoter. In 1899, shorty after his death, Pokagon's novel Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki, only the second ever published by an American Indian, appeared. It was intended to be a testimonial to the traditions, stability, and continuity of the Potawatomi in a rapidly changing world. Read today, Queen of the Woods is evidence of the author's desire to mark the cultural, political, and social landscapes with a memorial to the past and a monument to a future that included the Pokagon Potawatomi as distinct and honored people.
    Perma Red

    Perma Red - Debra Magpie Earling

    In the 1940s on the Flathead Indian Reservation, a reckless and stubborn young girl sets her life down a desperate path. Louise White Elk dreams of both belonging and escape, of discovering love and freedom on her own terms. But she is a red-haired, tough and beautiful temptation, and at least three men, each more dangerous than the other, want to control and possess her; Police Officer Charlie Kicking Woman, who struggles between worlds; charismatic but scary Baptiste, who refuses to yield to anyone; and Harvey Stoner, who owns nearly everything
    Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears

    Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears - Diane Glancy

    In this sequel to her popular 1996 novel Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears, author Diane Glancy continues the tale of Cherokee brothers O-ga-na-ya and Knobowtee and their families, as well the Reverend Jesse Bushyhead, a Cherokee Christian minister. The book follows their travails in Indian Territory as they attempt to build cabins, raise crops, and adjust to new realities.
    Remnants of the First Earth

    Remnants of the First Earth - Ray A. Young Bear

    The residents of the Black Eagle Child Settlement cope with a murder in which a powerful shaman, corrupt tribal authorities, and negligent white cops from nearby Why Cheer play key roles in the investigation.

    Sundown - John Joseph Mathews

    Challenge Windzer, the mixed-blood protagonist of this compelling autobiographical novel, was born at the beginning of the twentieth century "when the god of the great Osages was still dominate over the wild prairie and the blackjack hills" of northeast Oklahoma Territory. Named by his father to be "a challenge to the disinheritors of his people," Windzer finds it hard to fulfill his destiny, despite oil money, a university education, and the opportunities presented by the Great War and the roaring twenties.
    The Ancient Child

    The Ancient Child - N. Scott Momaday

    Based on an Indian myth about a boy who turns into a bear, this mystic novel concerns a young artist who confronts his unusual destiny with the aid of the beautiful medicine woman who loves him
    The Dance Boots

    The Dance Boots - Linda LeGarde Grover

    With its attention to the Ojibwe language, customs, and history, The Dance Boots narrates a century's evolution of Native Americans making choices and compromises, often dictated by a white majority, as they try to balance survival, tribal traditions, and obligations to future generations.
    The Education of Little Tree

    The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter

    Recounts the childhood remembrances of an orphaned Native American boy living with his Cherokee grandparents in a mountain log cabin in eastern Tennessee during the 1930s.
    The Grass Dancer

    The Grass Dancer - Susan Power

    From the 1860s, when two lovers are separated by death, the cosmic drama of the two spirits desperately seeking to be reunited molds the lives and fates of their descendants, in a novel shaped by the lore of the Sioux.
    The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie

    Offers a fictional portrait of the characters, language, traditions, and daily life of those living on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
    The Power of Horses and Other Stories

    The Power of Horses and Other Stories - Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

    The fifteen stories contained in The Power of Horses portray, each in a different way, the sensitive and enduring culture of the Dakota of the Upper Plains and convey many of the basic truths that have sustained Elizabeth Cook-Lynn's people for countless generations. Though the stories are often filled with violence and grief, they are also brimming with beauty, gentleness, charm, and humor.
    The Round House

    The Round House - Louise Erdrich

    When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.
    The Sharpest Sight

    The Sharpest Sight - Louis Owens

    When Attis McCurtain, a Vietnam veteran of mixed Choctaw and other origins, dies, his uncle commands Attis' younger brother Cole to find and bury his brother's bones, and in the process Cole and his friend Mundo Morales come to terms with their mixed heritages.
    The Woman Who Owned the Shadows

    The Woman Who Owned the Shadows - Paula Gunn Allen

    Ephanie Atencio is in the midst of a breakdown from which she can barely move. She has been left by her husband & is unable to take care of her children. To heal, Ephanie must seek, however gropingly, her own future. She leaves New Mexico for San Francisco, where she begins again the process of remembering, of trying to sort out the parts of her, ultimately finding a way to herself, relying no longer on men, but on her primary connections to the spirit women of her people & to the women of her own world.
    Three Day Road

    Three Day Road - Joseph Boyden

    The nephew of a Canadian Oji-Cree who is the last of a line of healers and diviners, Cree reserve student Xavier enlists in the military during World War I, a conflict throughout which he and his friend, Elijah, are marginalized for their appearances, their culturally enhanced marksmanship, and their disparate views of the war.

    Waterlily - Ella Cara Deloria

    When Blue Bird and her grandmother leave their family's camp to gather beans for the long, threatening winter, they inadvertently avoid the horrible fate that befalls the rest of the family. Luckily, the two women are adopted by a nearby Dakota community and are eventually integrated into their kinship circles. Ella Cara Deloria's tale follows Blue Bird and her daughter, Waterlily, through the intricate kinship practices that created unity among her people.
    Watermelon Nights

    Watermelon Nights - Greg Sarris

    A multi-generational epic novel about the love and forgiveness that keep an American Indian family together.
    Wild Indians & Other Creatures

    Wild Indians & Other Creatures - Adrian C. Louis

    This collection of interrelated short stories presents an unblinking and irreverent look at the social ills of Indian reservation life. Many are based on traditional trickster tales, some of the stories are humorous and others are stark and sad.
    Wind from an Enemy Sky

    Wind from an Enemy Sky - D'Arcy McNickle

    Story of the Little Elk people, a fictional Northwestern Indian tribe, seen through the eyes of Antoine, grandson of the tribal leader.
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