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Holiday Book Recommendation
Nichole Prescott PhD Author
Shawn Rossi
December 17, 2021

Books for the Holidays

wiintaakani-nko ahtooyani, kati wiintamaani  Do you have a book I can read?

Looking for some great books for the holidays? Here is my recommended list:

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

This book consumed me from the first paragraph. Eloquent. Evocative. And, informative. Dr. Kimmerer expertly weaves her personal story and that of her people with the natural world. They are one and the same. Symbiotic. Inextricably bound. This book is scientific yet approachable. You’ll learn a great deal about Native views on our relationship with the world around us, while Kimmerer unlocks the scientific secrets behind why the natural world does what it does. Read this book. Now. You’ll thank me.

The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline 

So, you like science fiction? This book is for you! The Marrow Thieves is set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the effects of climate change. People have lost the ability to dream. Well, not all people. Indigenous people can still dream and so they are hunted for this precious commodity. This premise sets the stage for a chilling cat-and-mouse saga, but one where the mouse is empowered by tradition and traditional values. Dimaline does a fantastic job of creating a world that is shaped by historical reality (boarding school trauma) and present reality (environmental disaster and climate change) with a dark future that can only be “fought” by remembering the teachings of our ancestors and drawing on the will and determination they still give us. 

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann 

**Grann is not Native, but is an investigative journalist who probed into this scandalous, horrible crime.

This book is based on a true story of members of the Osage Tribe in Oklahoma who were killed for their land and its riches. This is a story as old as American/Indian relations, sadly, yet this story happened while my grandparents were born—the 1920s. The Osage narrative unfolds alongside that of the birth of the FBI. Fascinating read. Well-written and well-researched.  

LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House (also an amazing book!) and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves (which I have yet to read, but plan to) takes the reader on a gut-wrenching journey through the devastation and aftermath of a tragic accident and two families’ attempts at coping with deep grief, atonement, and forgiveness. Through the interwoven strands of the narrative, which weave in and out of time and space, the reader gains a brief insight into a Native worldview and tradition. I’m not going to lie—I cried.

Also worth noting here is another book that is not written by an Indigenous author nor is it about Indigenous peoples, but it is a novel that blew me away: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This novel is about a young black man during the era of slavery who discovers special powers of remembering that connect him to his ancestors and to others who also hold this power. Loved this novel and highly recommend it.