Native American Fiction Titles from Perpich Library
November 17, 2023
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we are shining a spotlight on novels and short story collections by Indigenous authors.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich library. Click on titles for more information.
1. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered. Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory of her great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past.
2. Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars.
3. In the Night of Memory by Linda LeGarde Grover
When Loretta surrenders her young girls to the county and then disappears, she becomes one more missing Native woman in Indian Country’s long devastating history of loss. But she is also a daughter of the Mozhay Point Reservation in northern Minnesota and the mother of Azure and Rain, ages 3 and 4, and her absence haunts all the lives she has touched—and all the stories they tell in this novel. After a string of foster placements, from cold to kind to cruel, the girls find their way back to their extended Mozhay family, and a new set of challenges, and stories, unfolds.
4. Love Beyond Body, Space & Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology edited by Hope Nicholson
A collection of Indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman undergoing an experimental transition process to young lovers separated through decades and meeting in their own far future. These are stories of machines and magic, love and self-love.
5. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden – but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.
6. Night of the Living Rez: Stories by Morgan Talty
In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty―with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight―breathes life into tales of family and a community as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of an Indigenous community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction.
7. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
A novel that is equal parts psychological horror and cutting social commentary on identity politics and the American Indian experience. Fans of Jordan Peele and Tommy Orange will love this story as it follows the lives of four American Indian men and their families, all haunted by a disturbing, deadly event that took place in their youth. Years later, they find themselves tracked by an entity bent on revenge, totally helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
8. The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakhóta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most. Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.
9. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention”, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
10. There There by Tommy Orange
Follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich Library.