Learn about National Day of Mourning

The National Day of Mourning is a day of protest started by Native American activists in the 1970s to mourn, recognize, and educate the American people about the erasure of Native American history, culture, and lives that has been ongoing since Europeans settled in North America. It takes place on the same day as Thanksgiving.

To honor this day of mourning, please find resources from the Humanities department below of literature, graphic novels, plays, and poetry by and about Native Americans. Texts written by Native Americans have an asterisk next to the title. Click on the picture to check out the title.

Film

‘Injuns!’: Native Americans In The Movies by Edward Bucombe, Alanis Obomsawin: The Vision Of A Native Filmmaker byRandolph Lewis, Wiping The War Paint Off The Lens: Native American Film And Video by Beverly R. Singer

Graphic Novels

Indeh: A Story Of The Apache Wars by Ethan Hawke

Literature and Culture

 

*Native American Literature: A Very Short Introduction by Sean Kicummah Teuton (Cherokee), *Voice Of The Turtle: American Indian Literature by Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo), Encyclopedia Of American Indian Literature edited by Jennifer McClinton-Temple and Alan Velie, Masterpieces Of American Indian Literature edited by Willis Goth Regier, Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual edited by David Treuer (Ojibwe), Searching For Lost City: On The Trail Of America’s Native Languages by Elizabeth Seay, *Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers On Community edited by Heid E. Erdrich (Ojibwe), Tracks That Speak: The Legacy Of Native American Words In North American Culture by Charles L. Cutler, Feathering Custer by W.S. Penn (Nez Perce), Native American Women’s Writing C.1800-1924: An Anthology by Karen L Kilcup.

Memoir

*Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo (Muscogee), *The Woman Who Watches Over The World: A Native Memoir by Linda Hogan (Chickasaw)

Poetry

*New Poets Of Native Nations edited by Heid E. Erdrich, (Ojibwe), *Combing The Snakes From His Hair: Poems by James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk)

Religion

Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality by Philip Jenkins, Gods Of War, Gods Of Peace: How The Meeting Of Native And Colonial Religions Shaped Early America by Russell Bourne

Theater

*American Gypsy : Six Native American Playsby Diane Glancey (Cherokee)

 

Recommended Reading during Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is a time to continue to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. The Social Science and History Department created an all-ages reading list for you to start your exploration. Click on the hyperlink to reserve your copy today.

Adult Titles

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Following in the tradition of Howard Zinn’s classic People’s History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ work centers the history of the United States from an indigenous perspective. In particular, Dunbar-Ortiz analyzes the colonialist origins of American gun ownership, explores how American military Special Forces originated in the suppression of Native Americans, and examines the long history of American betrayals of indigenous peoples, both before and after their conquest.

Rez Life by David Treuer. Part autobiography, part well-researched reporting, David Treuer’s Rez Life traces the history of how Native Americans were forced to live on and be so heavily associated with reservations, as well as the current living conditions found on said reservations. Treuer draws on his personal experiences as an Ojibwe resident of the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota to illustrate how government policies profoundly shape the Native experience of American life.

 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann. 1491 serves to puncture several myths surrounding the pre-Contact Americas, and is in general and excellent introduction to the history of the pre-Contact Western Hemisphere. Mann challenges the popular conception of Native Americans as socially simplistic peoples, examining the intricate bureaucracy of the Incan empire in the Andes, the rise and fall of Cahokia, the cultivation of maize and cotton, and the archaeological evidence that the Amazon was partially cultivated by the local Native cultures.

Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest by Matthew Restall. Restall’s work focuses on the myths and retroactive justifications wielded in defense of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Peru, and the American Southwest. Utilizing a bevy of primary and secondary sources, Restall addresses myths such as the idea that the Native civilizations of Mesoamerica were overthrown by a handful of Spanish adventurers, or that the Aztecs believed that Cortez was a god. Restall also examines the history of how these myths became such a key part of the conventional narrative of the conquest and colonization of the Americas.

The Zapatista Reader edited by John Hayden and The War Against Oblivion: The Zapatista Chronicles by John Ross. The Zapatistas are a peasant rebellion and indigenous rights movement centered on the Mexican state of Chiapas. Originally sparked by the Mexican government’s implementation of NAFTA, the Zapatista movement continues to serve as an illustration of the struggle for Native American rights throughout the Americas. The Zapatista Reader is a collection of essays and primary source documents on the movement, while The War Against Oblivion is a reporter’s history of the early years of the movement.

The Social Science and History Department at the State Library Resource Center contains a wide array of additional resources on Native American cultures and histories, ranging from histories of specific First Nations and Indigenous folklore to more academic texts on Native American history, religion, cultural practices, and interactions with the United States and other governments.

Children’s Books

When We Were Alone by David Alexander Roberson, Illustrated by Julie Flett. A recently written picture book, When We Were Alone is an excellent introduction to the history of residential schools–the system of forced educational assimilation practiced in Canada until the end of the 20th century. In this beautifully illustrated and heartfelt story, a Cree grandmother compares her childhood to her granddaughter’s, recalling tenderly how she and other Cree children preserved their culture in private moments of community.

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis. Written by an Inuit author, Sweetest Kulu is a bedtime poem for young children. The author draws upon her heritage to relate a tale of the gifts given to a newborn child by the wild animals that inhabit the Arctic.

The Children’s Department at the State Library Resource Center contains many additional works by Native American authors, such as Lesson for the WolfHello Humpback!, and My Heart Fills with Happiness.

Maryland Department Resources

The Maryland Department at the State Library Resource Center also contains several resources regarding the history of Native Americans in the region. The Department has collected several archaeological site reports regarding Native American schools and business establishments in Baltimore City, as well as a Morgan State University overview of the Native American community in the city as of 1998. 

Rockin’ Reads, Part 7: More Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

What’s next on your to-read list? Adult Summer Challenge participants have some suggestions:

Michael H. on Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski: Loved this book! Great combination of readability and reliability, applies physics principles to everyday life. Enjoyed reading anecdotes to my wife.

Connie G. on Factfulness by Hans Rosling: Superba must-read for anyone interested in clear, dispassionate thinking about the serious problems facing us now.

Brynez R. on Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: Great self-help and empowering book around being open to all possibilities despite your fears and the good that can come when you do that.

Meredith V. on The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall: This remains one of the sweetest and most delightful series ever. I really enjoyed spending the book with Lydia. I kind of wanted some more time with the older girls, but I understand why the book wasn’t written that way. And the ending made me literally hug the book in happiness. I’m going to pretty immediately go back and start the series over.

Meri R. on Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan: Jennifer Egan does not disappoint. I read this book in a day, which is very fast for me, but every turn in the story was true and richly described. For a period novel, this book included details that felt lived in and personally important instead of carefully researched and curated. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Zachary F. on Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber: The concept of this book is really interesting. Essentially humanity has to revert to the dark ages with a repressive religion and one person who remembers the pinnacle of civilization has to try and bring this backward version of humanity into the future. The implications of having a religion that had eight million people around for the creation of the world and saw entities they believed to be archangels is really interesting. The plot is solid. I love the parts where they discuss advancing technologies. Some parts are a little over the top and sometimes the dialogue is a bit more wordy than necessary.

Kelly H. on All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin: This is an incredibly timely novel but it’s also got a new slant: it’s told from the perspective of the parents (Finch’s mom and Lyla’s dad) and not the teens themselves. It was especially interesting to hear from Finch’s mom, because it’s clear that she struggles with loving and wanting to protect her son but, at the same time, being horrified at what he did (and with it seeming like he doesn’t fully get exactly why it was so wrong). This novel also touches on class differences (Lyla is at the school on scholarship; Finch can have pretty much literally anything and everything he wants) and that’s also interesting. Finch’s dad believes that his money can get them out of any predicament (he tries to bribe Lyla’s dad to drop the matter and gives him $15,000. It’s clear that he doesn’t think of that as a large amount of money…which I can’t even imagine, btw).  If you want your beach reads to be more than a guilty pleasure, check this one out.

Join the fun! For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15.

Rockin’ Reads, Part 6: More Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

Here’s another taste of what our Adult Summer Challenge participants have been reading:

Lucie F. on The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware: A chillingly atmospheric modern take on the classic Agatha Christie family-inheritance-murder plot. I loved that I was able to guess some of the mystery but as I puzzled over it, Ware stayed one step ahead of me!

Laura R. on Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: Great family saga dealing with issues of immigration and discrimination is perfect for our times. I didn’t know anything about the Korean/Japanese history so it was interesting history as well. A good read.

Sarah B. on The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee: The higher you rise, the farther you fall, and nowhere is this more true than in this book. Set in a vividly imagined 1000-floor skyscraper in the year 2118, it follows the lives of five teens from very different backgrounds and the ways their lives interlock, with exciting, romantic, surprising, and disastrous consequences. With a great prologue and a climax that left me scared about what a girl was wearing (the mark of ingenious writing), the story pulled me in and made me want to live among the well-developed and realistic characters. I look forward to reading the sequel and the release of book three next month!

Aaron B. on The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and and Daniel Kraus : A novelization of a film should expand on that film’s concepts & themes. Kraus & del Toro achieved that with an equally moving & romantic companion piece to del Toro’s Oscar-winning (& deserving) motion picture. A brilliant piece of romanticism.

Julie J. on The Soul of America by Jon Meacham: Brilliant, historical review of our American history when citizens and presidents have come together, not without struggles, to fight and survive battles of integration, racism, immigration, hate, just as we still do present-day. Yet, just published in spring 2018, brings a timely reminder with calming wisdom, that Americans must keep the faith and hope in our heritage. Author is Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and writes beautifully.

Nayantara B. on Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis is the autobiographical story of the author’s coming of age in Iran after the Islamic Regime amidst the Iran-Iraq War. Though life in this time is very bleak, Satrapi’s use of the graphic novel genre is irreverent and ironic. It provides a window into a very different world while still highlighting the universal heartaches of losing innocence.

Howell B. on Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer: This book with a preposterous premisethat an Amtrak conductor has died and Joe Biden and Barack Obama work together to figure out what happenedis funny and enjoyable. It will provoke many appreciative laughs.

Lucy J. on Death in Ecstasy by Ngaio Marsh: This Roderick Alleyn mystery surprised me a little with its relevance to today’s issuesheroin use in the 1930s? Always interesting to read Kiwi grande dame Ngaio Marsh’s books.

Join the fun! For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15.

Rockin’ Reads, Part Two: More Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

Looking for your next good read? Take a tip from one of our Adult Summer Challenge participants:

Noelani L. on The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish: Hilarious and heartfelt! Audiobook read by the author is excellent. Enjoyed this on my commute to and from work.

Leslie J. on The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: Love his books. Can’t put them down. This one had me up late into the night trying to figure out who done it.

Laura M. on Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: The book is written in a fascinating style of quotes from fictional characters and historical accounts of Willie Lincoln’s illness, and imagined experience in the graveyard neighborhood, during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential term. It’s emotional, touching, and imaginative. Quite funny in parts. If you liked Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, you will probably like Lincoln in the Bardo.

Robert B. on Grant by Ron Chernow: Most of us think of Ulysses Simpson Grant as a great general but a poor president. Ron Chernow’s tour-de-force biography casts Grant in a completely different mold, emphasizing his fight against the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Civil War South as well as his determined support for African American rights. Chernow also enumerates those qualities of Grant that made him the first modern general to emerge from the Civil War. This is a large book but definitely worth the time and effort it takes to make your way through it.

Holly T. on Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong and Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets “Festive” by Jen Yates: […]Cake Wrecks is an active blog in which people submit pictures of professionally made confections that are just freakin’ WRONG. The books are the best of the worst of these submissions. Laughable spelling and grammar, literal interpretations of instructions, and questionable icing choices are among some of the travesties you’ll find, and they’re made even more amusing by the author’s commentary. The way the world is right now, we could all do with some laughter, and the Cake Wrecks books deliver.

Lakeisha H. on Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill  : […]Walking the streets that I’m familiar with in this book was a comfort and joy. The main character finds not only his personal story but the very deep and historically valid and important story of African Americans in Baltimore. What is wonderful is Baltimore becomes a character in the book. It’s not often you get to read about Baltimore in any other capacity other than crime and violence. The glory of Uptown, the impact of the A.M.E., the beauty of Charles Village, and the people of Baltimore are showcased in this book that could be considered a historical fiction. Extremely worth reading.

Tammra F. on First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Cooper and Piper made for a very interesting storyline. Piper was a treat to read about. She reminded me of a little bit of myself. She seems to think out loud and it makes for a very funny and interesting read. Cooper is just wonderful and I love that he doesn’t give up on Piper and seems to understand her better than she understands herself.

Join the fun! For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15.