Reading List

This is a kind of working bibliography, a record of all the material I have read (or in some cases, watched) in the process of learning about indigenous history. It also contains books that I am planning to read but haven’t yet gotten to. Note: I don’t necessarily uncritically endorse everything on this list; however, I have gained valuable information from all of these resources. Always read documents on indigenous people with caution and a critical mind.

As of manoominike-giizis (wild rice season) 2012, I have mostly been focusing on the Great Lakes and the northern Plains, but I intend to eventually cover history all the way from the Aleutian Islands to the Isthmus of Panama.

Early History

  • Cahokia by Pauketat and Emerson
  • 1491 by Charles C. Mann
  • 1493 by Charles C. Mann
  • The First North Americans by Brian Fagan
  • The Earth Shall Weep by James Wilson
  • America in 1492 by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.

1500 to 1830s

  • The Middle Ground by Richard White
  • Common and Contested Ground by Theodore Binnema
  • Storms Brewed in Other Men’s World by Elizabeth A. H. John
  • Lewis and Clarke Through Indian Eyes edited by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
  • History of the Ojibwe People by William W. Warren
  • The journals of Lewis and Clarke
  • The Divided Ground by Alan Taylor
  • The Iroquois in the War of 1812 by Carl Benn
  • The Shawnee Prophet by R. David Edmunds
  • Slavery in Indian Country by Christina Snyder
  • The People Who Own Themselves by Heather Devine
  • Indians in the Fur Trade by Arthur J Ray
  • Separate Peoples, One Land: the Minds of Cherokees, Blacks, and Whites on the Tennessee Frontier by Cynthia Cumfer

19th Century

  • Ghost Dances and Identity by Gregory E. Smoak
  • Life of Black Hawk by Mahkate:wi-meši-ke:hke:hkwa (Black Hawk), edited by J. Gerald Kennedy
  • The Free People – Li Gens Libre by Diane P. Payment
  • We Shall Remain produced PBS (film)
  • Into The West directed by Steven Spielberg (TV miniseries)

20th Century

  • Lakota Woman by Ohítika Wiŋ (Mary Brave Bird)
  • Quiet Revolution West by John Weinstein
  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Mathiessen


  • Indigenizing the Academy edited by Devon Abbott Mihesuah and Angela Cavender Wilson
  • Decolonizing Native Histories edited by Florencia E. Mallon
  • Learning to be an Anthropologist and Remaining “Native” by Beatrice Medicine
  • Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

10 thoughts on “Reading List”

  1. Speaking as a Native American/French woman known as (Metis)., I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula being taught that it was wrong to identify with my Native American roots. Once my mother learned of my Christian instilled biases’ (sp) she set me straight. I am fascinated with all history for whether we know it or not our ancestors are still writing our history and affecting our present. Knowledge is power whether applied or not……I want to stay curious for the rest of my life and am grateful someone sent me this blog on fb……..and I’m excited to get into the reading list. I hope you all have an interesting life and you stay curious as well.
    Gwen Savard
    fyi: Savard translates to savage 🙂

  2. Maura Beecher said:

    Years ago, pursuing women’s history, I read a book called “Many Tender Ties,” by a Canadian named, I think, Sylvia Kirk. Might you want to add that to your list?

    • You know, I’m sure that I’ve heard of that! I can’t remember if I’ve read it or not, but I do recall that it was supposed to be really good. I’ll have to go check it out. This list is unfortunately rather non-comprehensive, I need to update it with what I’ve read more recently.

      • I have found many, perhaps most, of my best books on Native anything to be Canadian. Sylvia Kirk’s work is excellent. Of course, there’s Decolonizing Methodologies which is Maori.

        My mother’s people were/are from Kwakwaka’wakw territory which is the northern and northeastern Vancouver Island and adjacent mainland, plus islands between the two and that is where my main studies lie; however, my education and home are in the U.S. so I have one of those cross/non-border worlds. I used to buy books by the dozens from UBC and UVic (universities in British Columbia).

        Check out work by Coll Thrush, too. (He’s not Native either but he is a fabulous writer and a student of Richard White, as are Mike Witgen and Ned Blackhawk (sometimes, the thing to search for is authors), all from about the same era. Good luck with your search!

  3. is cool info for the coastal Salish territories….also I can pass on resources for the indigenous people of mexico if would like

  4. If you’re interested, I highly recommend checking out the work of Jodi Byrd and Mark Rifkin. The anthology Theorizing Native Studies might be helpful for your theory list as well. Sounds like great work. Thanks for blogging about it!

  5. Hello Kai,
    I’m enjoying your blog and the resources it brings to bear on this subject. I urge you to consider adding “Facing East From Indian Country (A Native History of Early America)” by Daniel Richter to your reading list. I did not see it mentioned anywhere (yet) as I explore your site. While academic in nature, it is highly readable and is considered scholarship changing with its publication. Note that “East” refers to the colonies, more or less, because of the early America timeline.

    Don’t give up on your idea of a book!

  6. Sally Kessler said:

    This site is awesome! A friend just recommended it on Facebook, and it’s going to be a goldmine for non-biased high school lessons for my kiddos and me!

  7. A great read to add would be Critically Sovereign ed. by Joanne Barker.

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