First Voices

First Voices

A list by Mikki, Customer Service Specialist Substitute
January 4th, 2022

This list contains books and DVDs that are written by or feature Indigenous voices. Right now, most of the materials all come from North America, but later more might include those from Australia and New Zealand.

Books

Truer shares and documents facts clearly and calmly. He clarifies that his opinions do not reflect the opinions of all Indigenous people, and points out that not only do not all Indigenous people have the same opinions, but many individuals from the same tribes do not have the same opinions.

This documentary focuses on an important figure in recent U.S. history who many of us have not heard of, John Trudell. This award-winning film features interviews with Trudell, a few iconic European American performers, Robert Redford, Kris Kristofferson, and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few, and fellow Indigenous activists who knew Trudell as well as beautiful scenery and the occasional factual tidbit on screen.

This award-winning DVD offers a revelation in every segment about the vital role Indigenous people have had in the creation of and innovations within rock-n-roll. I often exclaimed, "What?! How come I never heard of that?" Learn how Indigenous Americans influenced rock-n-roll here and in Great Britain.

Fascinating cover to cover, this book left me wanting to read many of the featured artists more, including the editor, Grace Dillon, who teaches at Portland State University. The preface and introductions to each featured segment educate not only about Indigenous characters in science fiction, but also about sci-fi and science itself. In fact, one preface documents that a few physicists, such as David Peat, have consulted with Blackfoot in particular because their conceptions mesh with quantum physics.

This well-documented book uses the Dakota Access Pipeline events as a way to understand how historical events informed the occurrence and coverage of the protests. It also explains why many white ranchers and veterans joined Indigenous folks in the protest.

I read this book over a year ago, and its images stick in my mind still. In addition to potent writing, the exploration of language and dreams deepens this story.

Roanhorse has gained enough of a following to publish many books. Her command of pacing and introduction of interesting ideas and images explains the popularity, and I found the focus on the Dine educative.

Wall Kimmerer writes clearly and shows how Indigenous scientific methods reveal a good deal that Western academic science has missed. She clearly shows how careful and patient observation reveals not only the small wonders of the world but also how these wonders support each other.

While perhaps too dark for many, I found the book and humor illuminating. The novel reveals how many urban Indigenous persons grapple with their identity and keep culture alive while living apart from large numbers of a specific tribe.

Director Waititi, of current Marvel fame, directed this film that unsentimentally explores fractured Indigenous families in a way that illuminates behaviors and forgives. It is profound without being too heavy and loving without being schmaltzy.

This YA book provides a fictionalized exploration of the first contact between Vikings and Indigenous communities in the far north of the Americas. The novel demonizes neither side and offers potential insight into motivations for both groups to reach out and to be wary of each other.

This series of graphic novels follows young Indigenous women in urban Canada. The characters grow throughout the series, providing insights into challenges that Indigenous urban persons of all ages face. Both author and illustrator have won awards.

Marmon Silko's novel makes for a very interesting read in content and form. I recommend it for persons who are interested in different structures and stories.

This movie unflinchingly yet compassionately presents genius, addiction, abuse, and the power of reinvigorating cultural practices.

This nonfiction juvenile book presents the history of Indigenous people in North America from prehistoric through contemporary times in a visually engaging way. It is concise and well-organized that provides readers different modalities through which to approach the material.

While not written by an Indigenous author, this award-winning book presents a well-documented history of the United States' government's founding and impact on Indigenous Americans.

Thistle's journey illustrates the challenges of being an Indigenous person in Canada, falling into addiction and homelessness, and ultimately moving to health through insight and pursuit of education.

This memoir gives insight into some of the challenges the author had to overcome to survive in academia.

I find Erdrich to write better than anyone in the U.S., and this book surpasses earlier efforts. All Erdrich's characters have believable voices, and while touching upon true historical events, Erdrich tightly and artistically weaves all through language that leads from one line, one paragraph, one chapter to the next. The artistry is unparalleled.

Erdrich edges into speculative fiction in this work. I read this book because Erdrich is my favorite author, and she delivers in her usual flawless language and engaging story structure. But, it is not for the faint of heart.

Erdrich departs from her more interesting structuring and delivers a novel that is easy to follow with an ending that many will find satisfying.

While in the horror genre, this book provides narrative examinations of sociological, cultural, personal psychological, and even ecological disruptions and their interconnection. Despite the sadness, the story resolves itself on many levels and offers a powerful ending.

This picture book gives an interesting look into Inuit life and the importance of taking care of one's things.