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November is Native American Heritage Month


November is Native American Heritage Month. And we start by acknowledging that our community lives and works on lands once occupied by several indigenous tribes, such as the Wea, Miami, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Wyandot, Winnebago and Delaware. We’d like to invite you to challenge yourself this month to learn about the groups that used to live here and those who still live here. This is a time to remember those who were driven from their homes, whose traditions were outlawed, whose children were kidnapped and forced to assimilate, and whose deaths our country is built upon.

United States Poet Laureate for 2019, Joy Harjo’s “Poet warrior: a memoir” (921 Harjo, J.) is a meditation on love, grief, justice and healing in her relationship with her family, her culture and her art. If you’ve already read all of Harjo’s work we have on our shelves, the anthology “Spider Woman’s granddaughters: traditional tales and contemporary writing by Native American women” (810.8 Spi) has short stories in a similar vein.

“New Native kitchen: celebrating modern recipes of the American Indian” (641.59297 Bit) is a joyful cookbook incorporating recipes from traditions across the continent, preserving their history while offering updates for the modern day. It is a vibrant representation of the living culture of American Indigenous people, which is so often dismissed as a tragedy of the past.

Native culture is alive, but so are its threats. “Our history is the future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the long tradition of Indigenous resistance” (323.1197 Est) by Nick Estes highlights these ongoing struggles against environmental racism and state violence, along with historical conflicts far beyond the first Thanksgiving. For more information on Native Americans and the colonization of the U.S., read “An indigenous peoples’ history of the United States” (970.004 Dun) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Or, for a look at Indigenous life before the Mayflower, check out “Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the making of America” (977.401 McD) by Michael A. McDonnell and “Lakota America: a new history of indigenous power” (978.004 Ham) by Pekka Hämäläinen.

If you are interested in learning more about Native Peoples, consider visiting our state’s official page for Native Affairs at, or the Miami Nation of Indiana’s website at

Stop by the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor for assistance with finding these books or others. Take a moment to appreciate our extensive collection of reading materials. If you are interested in acquiring a CDPL library card, searching our catalog in advance, or learning about local history, visit our website at or call us at 765-362-2242. CDPL is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.


Susanna Howard is a library assistant in the Reference and Local History department at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.


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