Monday, November 01, 2021 Charleston County Library

CHARLESTON, S.C. - November is National Native American Heritage Month where we recognize the contributions, achievements and sacrifices of Native American people, the first inhabitants of the United States. It's also a time to celebrate their rich and vibrant culture. 

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” This marked the beginning of an annual tradition in the United States.

Native Americans have been integral to the development of a unique American culture, and their contributions in areas including agriculture, science and technology, medicine, and government have had worldwide implications. More recently, Native activists have played a major role in the modern environmental justice movement. Their efforts received international attention when members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and their allies actively opposed the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While mainstream American culture oftentimes depicts Native Americans as relics of the past, only focusing on a handful of notable tribal leaders and historic events, today there are more than four million Native Americans in the United States and nearly 600 sovereign Native nations. 

The Charleston County Public Library is hosting programs, showcasing displays (such as the ones pictured below from the Baxter-Patrick James Island Library) and more to celebrate Native Americans and to educate the community about their contributions. Check out the programming calendar for the latest on programming throughout the month.

We encourage you to stop by the Main Library to check out a display with a wide range of books by Indigenous authors. The Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Library has a take and make dream catcher craft for all ages, while supplies last, where you can pickup the supplies and put it together at home.

You can also join the Cookbook Club at Wando Mt. Pleasant Library to discover, share and learn how to prepare savory dishes just in time for the holidays in honor of Native American Heritage Month on Saturday, November 20 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

With your library card, you can access digital resources on Hoopla, where you can explore audiobooks, ebooks, music, movies and more. Here you can find a curated list of books about Native American stories and experiences.


Recommended Reads


  1. Rabbit's Snow Dance: A Traditional Iroquois Story by James & Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Jeff Newman
    Master storytellers Joseph and James Bruchac present a hip and funny take on an Iroquois folktale about the importance of patience, the seasons, and listening to your friends.
  2. Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac
    From the U.S.'s foremost Indigenous children's author comes a middle grade verse novel set during the COVID-19 pandemic, about a Wabanaki girl's quarantine on her grandparents' reservation and the local dog that becomes her best friend
  3. Bowwow powwow = bagosenjige-niimi'idim by Brenda Child, translated by Gordon Jourdain, and illustrated by Jonathan Thunder
    When Uncle and Windy Girl attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers and listens to the singers. She eats tasty food and joins family and friends around the campfire. Later, Windy falls asleep under the stars. Uncle's stories inspire visions in her head: a bowwow powwow, where all the dancers are dogs. In these magical scenes, Windy sees veterans in a Grand Entry, and a visiting drum group, and traditional dancers, grass dancers, and jingle-dress dancers -- all with telltale ears and paws and tails. All celebrating in song and dance. All attesting to the wonder of the powwow.
  4. Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulsen, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
    Bo wants to find the perfect container to show off his traditional marbles for the Cherokee National Holiday in this exploration of volume and capacity.
  5. Birdsong written and illustrated by Julie Flett
    When a young girl moves from the country to a town, she feels lonely and out of place. But she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided.
  6. All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia
    Finding circles everywhere, a grandfather and his granddaughter meditate on the cycles of life and nature.
  7. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.
    Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, Maillard tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes.
  8. When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett
    When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother's garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.
  9. At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
    At the mountain's base sits a cabin under an old hickory tree. And in that cabin lives a family -- loving, weaving, cooking, and singing. The strength in their song sustains them through trials on the ground and in the sky, as they wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war.
  10. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
    Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.


Young Adults 

  1. This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm et al.
    Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.
  2. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
    Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.
  3. #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women ed. Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
    Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #Not Your Princess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.
  4. Trickster: Native American Tales 10th Anniversary Edition ed. Matt Dembicki
    In Trickster, 24 Native storytellers were paired with 24 comic artists, telling cultural tales from across America. Ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes downright fiendish, these tales bring tricksters back into popular culture.
  5. Give Me Some Truth: A Novel with Paintings by Eric Gansworth
    In 1980 life is hard on the Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York, and most of the teenagers feel like they are going nowhere: Carson Mastick dreams of forming a rock band, and Maggi Bokoni longs to create her own conceptual artwork instead of the traditional beadwork that her family sells to tourists--but tensions are rising between the reservation and the surrounding communities, and somehow in the confusion of politics and growing up Carson and Maggi have to make a place for themselves.
  6. If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie and Nahanni Shingoose, illustrated by Neal Shannacappo
    A powerfully illustrated graphic novel for teens about the subject of missing and murdered Indigenous people. Combining graphic fiction and non-fiction, this young adult graphic novel serves as a window into one of the unique dangers of being an Indigenous teen in Canada today. The text of the book is derived from excerpts of a letter written to the Winnipeg Chief of Police by fourteen-year-old Brianna Jonnie -- a letter that went viral and in which, Jonnie calls out the authorities for neglecting to immediately investigate and involve the public in the search for missing Indigenous people, and urges them to "not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be" if she were to be reported missing. Indigenous artist Neal Shannacappo provides the artwork for the book.
  7. In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III, illustrated by Jim Yellowhawk
    Teased for his fair coloring, eleven-year-old Jimmy McClean travels with his maternal grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, to learn about his Lakota heritage while visiting places significant in the life of Crazy Horse, the nineteenth-century Lakota leader and warrior, in a tale that weaves the past with the present. Includes historical note and glossary.
  8. Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley
    Apple Starkington turned her back on her Native American heritage the moment she was called a racial slur for someone of white and Indian descent, not that she really even knew how to be an Indian in the first place. Too bad the white world doesn't accept her either. And so begins her quirky habits to gain acceptance. Apple's name, chosen by her Indian mother on her deathbed, has a double meaning: treasured apple of my eye, but also the negative connotation a person who is red, or Indian, on the outside, but white on the inside. After her wealthy father gives her the boot one summer, Apple reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the first time.
  9. Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & Donovan Yaciuk
    A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls--words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive. Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation.
  10. Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
    When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?



  1. Why We Serve by Alexandra Harris
    Why We Serve commemorates the opening of the memorial through the history of Native military service in all its complexity, from colonial Native nations who forged alliances, attempting to preserve their sovereignty, to contemporary individuals celebrating their Indigenous culture while fighting in foreign conflicts.
  2. Strangers in their Own Land: South Carolina’s State Indian Tribes by S. Pony Hill
    Generations have passed since the Jim Crow era. Today, the Palmetto State's Indians focus less on imagined "racial purity" and more on the welfare of their communities, preserving their customs, and honoring their ancient traditions.
  3. Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen
    A powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author's encounters with gun violence--for readers of Jesmyn Ward and Terese Marie Mailhot.
  4. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
    As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation."
  5. We Had A Little Real Estate Problem by Kliph Nesteroff
    In We Had a Little Real Estate Problem, acclaimed comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff focuses on one of comedy’s most significant and little-known stories: how, despite having been denied representation in the entertainment industry, Native Americans have influenced and advanced the art form.
  6. There, There by Tommy Orange
    There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people.
  7. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
    With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. The community leadearship loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision. Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.
  8. The Turquoise Ledge by Leslie Marmon Silko
    Silko takes readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, weaving tales from both sides of her family's past into her observations, and using the turquoise stones that she finds on her walks to unite the strands of her stories.
  9. Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga 
    Over the span of ten years, seven high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave their reserve because there was no high school there for them to attend. Award-winning journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this northern city that has come to manifest, and struggle with, human rights violations past and present against aboriginal communities.
  10. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
    In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.