3 Riveting Reads To Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, this week’s Three to Read line-up highlights some dazzling debut novels from Indigenous authors.

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November marks National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM) in the United States. A time to lift up the voices of Indigenous peoples and raise awareness about the challenges Native American communities have faced historically and in the present day. Click here to learn more about NNAHM, including ongoing Indigenous rights advocacy and conservation efforts.

To kick off our observance of Native American Heritage Month here at Bookstr, we’ve compiled a handful of debut novels from three outstanding Indigenous authors. Read on to learn more about our picks, which explore themes of survival, grief, community, and the supernatural.

Hot Pick

Shutter

by Ramona Emerson

Image via Amazon

SYNOPSIS:

Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer with an eye for detail. The supernatural secret to her success working for the Albuquerque police is that she can see the ghosts of the victims, which helps guide her toward clues. One day, when she’s sent to photograph a supposed suicide, the victim’s ghost tells her she was murdered. The deceased then latches on to Rita and drags her into a dangerous quest for revenge.

WHY:

This gripping debut from Ramona Emerson, a Diné writer and filmmaker from New Mexico, is already making a splash in the literary world. Longlisted for the National Book Award, this crime thriller set in the Navajo Nation is receiving high praise for its ingenuity and coming-of-age storytelling. To learn more about the author, check out Reel Indian Pictures, the production company she founded with her husband.

Coffee Shop Read

Night of the Living Rez

by Morgan Talty

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SYNOPSIS:

This debut collection of twelve stories is set in a Native community in Maine. Its striking humor, insight, and humanity make for a moving portrayal of an Indigenous community in the 21st century. Focusing particularly on the Penobscot nation, Talty’s stories are imbued with themes of family inheritance and perseverance after tragedy.

WHY:

Perfect to peruse at your local coffee shop, Night of the Living Rez has something for everyone, with stories that’ll make you laugh and cry at the same time. As a winner of the New England Book Award and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award finalist, this new collection cements Talty’s emergence as one of the top contemporary fiction talents today.

Dark Horse

A Minor Chorus

by Billy-Ray Belcourt

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SYNOPSIS:

Set in Northern Alberta, Canada, a queer Indigenous doctoral student is caught between his childhood on the reservation and his new urban life in academia. To explore the intricacies of his life and identity, he pauses work on his dissertation to write a novel. Drawing from a series of illuminating connections, our unnamed protagonist weighs pivotal conversations and lingering memories to create a breathtaking examination of loneliness, generational trauma, colonialism, and more.

WHY:

Belcourt’s debut novel breathes life into the modern queer and Indigenous experience in beautiful prose. It was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, displaying Belcourt’s continued literary prowess as one of Canada’s most significant young writers to watch. Check out A Minor Chorus for a meditative, genre-defying story “that reveals the texture of life in a town literature has left unexplored.”

Check back here each week for more Three to Read line-ups!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / GRIFFYN TIJAMO