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Native Americans - Fiction & Literature

Updated: September 5, 2019

This is a sampling of modern Native American fiction and poetry

Alexie, Sherman, 1966-

In the face of constant poverty and lack of opportunities on his Spokane Indian reservation, nerdy cartoonist Junior makes the decision to leave the reservation to attend the all-white public school where he is the only Native-American and subject to constant bullying and stereotypes. His cartoons, present throughout the book, help him to cope and understand.

Silko, Leslie Marmon, 1948-
Call Number: Ed.b

Tayo, WW II vet and former prisoner of war, returns to his Laguna Pueblo reservation, but does not find any consolation for all that he endured. Only by delving into the history, traditions, beliefs and ritual practices of his people will he find resolution.

Vizenor, Gerald Robert, 1934-

Vizenor combines traditional trickster tale themes and biting satire to skewer stereotypes of Native Americans and academia.

Momaday, N. Scott, 1934-

This novel was awarded the1969 Pultizer Prize for fiction.  Momaday's semi-autobiographical novel is about a Native American caught between two worlds, life on the reservation and another in an industrial American city.

Smelcer, John E., 1963-
Call Number: 811 S638-3

Novelist and poet John E. Smelcer, member of the Ahtna Tribe of Alaska, does not mince words in his satiric send-up about Native Americans.

Highway, Tomson, 1951-

The Fur Queen may be the source of life and death.  Despite successful lives as adults, two Cree brothers carry the scars of abuse after being taken from their Northern Cree Reservation to a residential school to be converted to Christianity.



Hobson, Geary.

A collection of short stories about men in combat, some of whom are Native Americans, as they struggle to find meaning.

Alexie, Sherman, 1966-
These stories about Spokane Indians living in the Seattle area are filled with vivid characters and thoughtful, wry reflections on what it means to be an Indian.

Orange, Tommy, 1982-

Tommy Orange explores urban Native American identity through a spectrum of character perspectives. Twelve Native American characters who struggle with their own hardships, combined with the memory of a tragic history as a people, hope to find meaning or solace at the Big Oakland Powwow in California.


Kenny, Maurice, 1929-2016.

Fourteen stories by Mohawk writer Maurice Kenny, who presents different aspects of truth as portrayed in old and modern tales.


Roanhorse, Rebecca,

This story is set in the near future on the land of the Dinétah (the Navajo reservation), after a cataclysmic global warming has drowned most of the world. There has been a (literal) rebirth of the gods and heroes of myth in the aftermath of this cataclysm.  Maggie Hoskie, the heroine, is a monster slayer and is sent on an adventure that tests her origins and skills. This is an exciting story that highlights the myths and legends of the Navajo people in the context of post-apocalyptic fantasy.  


Wood, Karenne, 1960-
Call Number: 811 W8765-1

As a member of the Monacan Indian Nation, Karenne Wood intertwines history, folklore, feminism, and a reverence for earth and nature in this collection of poems which are chant-like in form and rhythm.