Honor American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month

November is American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month, also known as Native American Heritage Month.

I highly recommend Angeline Boulley’s The Firekeeper’s Daughter, a suspenseful story with a quirky protagonist: Daunis Fontaine, a runner, hockey player, geek, and aspiring doctor in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, who graduated valedictorian but defers her acceptance to UM in the wake of a family tragedy – and ends up helping the FBI solve a mystery in her community. Boulley wove cultural insights into the narrative that expanded my understanding of Ojibwe identity, history, and community. The MLWGS Library has a copy available for checkout, and area public libraries have the novel in print, e-book, and audio formats.

For a quicker reading/listening experience connected to American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month, here are two poems by Natalie Diaz, a poet who identifies as Mojave and Latina: “The Facts of Art” (text) and “Why I Hate Raisins” (video with link to text). Her collection Postcolonial Love Poem and several other books by American Indian writers and/or about American Indian and Alaskan Native culture are available from the MLWGS Library.

Here are a few resources to support further exploration, including a film festival this weekend.

  • Virtual program by the Virginia War Memorial (registration required) at 7pm on Nov. 22nd called “The National Native American Veterans Memorial” – Dr. Herman J. Viola, a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, and Harvey Pratt, the designer of the memorial, discuss the new memorial, its creation, and what it means
  • News articles in Indian Country Today which covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives