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Suggested Readings

The following bibliographies offer several suggested readings by or about Native peoples and their concepts of health and illness. They are organized mostly by age groups, albeit many young adults may find readings listed under General Public and Research accessible and insightful.

Young Readers & Young Adults

Alexie, Sherman (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007. Reprinted 2009.

This novel recounts the trials of a Native American teenager who decides to transfer to an off-reservation high school in an attempt to gain a better education. His Native peers on the reservation look upon him as a “traitor,” while his peers at his new high school regard him as an outsider. (Grade levels: 7-10)

Erdrich, Louise (Anishinabe). Love Medicine. 1984. Revised Edition, New York: The McGraw Hill Companies, 2000.

All of Erdrich’s novels focus on issues of medicine, health, and disease. Love Medicine, in particular, explores the loss of Native American spirituality and cultural identity in a set of inter-related chapters narrated by different characters. (Grade levels: 10+)

Hogan, Linda (Chickasaw). Power. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

All of Hogan’s novels revolve around issues of the sacred and healing. In Power, a sixteen-year-old Native American girl witnesses the killing of her clan’s sacred animal, the Florida panther, by her spiritual mentor.(Grade levels: 10+)

Gravelle, Karen. Soaring Spirits: Conversations with Native American Teens. New York: F. Watts, 1995.

This non-fiction publication includes photos and interviews with 17 teens who discuss growing up Native American today. (Grade levels: 7-12)

Wall, Steve, and Harvey Arden. Wisdomkeepers: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, Inc., 1990. Reprinted 2006.

This non-fiction work chronicles Wall and Arden’s photographing and interviewing tribal elders from 20 Native nations over the course of ten years.(Grade levels: 6-12)

In addition, the following websites provide bibliographies of books about or by Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Hawaiian Natives for all levels of K-12 grades:

  • American Indian Library Association—American Indian Youth Services Literature Award
    This website lists children’s books that have received the American Indian Youth Services Literature Award, which is meant to honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians.

  • Caldwell, Naomi, Gabriella Kaye and Lisa A. Mitten. “‘I’ is for Inclusion: The Portrayal of Native Americans in Books for Young People.” American Indian Children’s Literature: Identifying and Celebrating the Good. Washington, D.C.: American Indian Library Association, 2007
    This PDF file provides an annotated bibliography of several Native American literature titles. Works included fall under the categories of books by Native authors for young people, books on contemporary Native Americans by Native as well as non-Native authors, and portrayals of Pocahontas/Jamestown.

  • Anthropology Outreach Office, Smithsonian Institution— “A Critical Bibliography on North American Indians for K-12”
    This website is a wonderful resource that provides an annotated bibliography of literature pertaining to North American Indians. Titles included fall under the categories of traditional stories, biographies, fiction, and non-fiction, while each section is divided by hemispheric region (e.g., Great Basin, Plateau, Northeast, Arctic, etc.)

General Public


Allen, Paula Gunn (Laguna Pueblo and Lakota). Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook. Boston: Beacon Press, 1991.
Bell, Betty Louise (Cherokee). Faces in the Moon. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.
Chief Eagle, Dallas (Lakota). Winter Count. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. Originally published in 1967.
Highway, Tomson (Cree). Kiss of the Fur Queen. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. First published in Canada by Doubleday in 1998.
Momaday, N. Scott (Kiowa/Cherokee). House Made of Dawn. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1999. First published by Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1966.
Power, Susan (Lakota). The Grass Dancer. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1995.
Roscoe, Will. Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.
___. The Zuni Man-Woman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.
Sarris, Greg (Pomo). Grand Avenue. New York: Hyperion, 1994.
Silko, Leslie Marmon (Laguna Pueblo). Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
Vizenor, Gerald (Anishinabe). Heirs of Columbus. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1991.
Young Bear, Ray A. (Mesquakie). Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992.


Benson, Heather. Keepers of the Canton Indian Asylum Share History. South Dakota Public Broadcasting. June 7, 2018 [last updated Nov 7, 2019]
Black Elk, Nicholas (Oglala Sioux) and John G. Neihardt. Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961.
Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom of Native American Herbalism. Rochester: Bear & Co., 2006.
Cuero, Delfina (Kumeyaay) and Florence Connolly Shipek. Delfina Cuero: Her Autobiography, An Account of Her Last Years, and Her Ethnobotanic Contributions. Menlo Park: Ballena Press, 1991.
Deloria Jr., Vine (Standing Rock Sioux). The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men. Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 2006.
Hensley, William L. I??ia?ruk (Iñupiaq). Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2009.
Hungry Wolf, Beverly (Blackfoot). The Ways of My Grandmothers. New York: Morrow, 1980.
Lame Deer, John (Lakota) and Richard Erdoes. Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
McMaster, Gerald (Plains Cree and Blackfoot) and Clifford E. Trafzer (Wyandot). Native Universe: Voices of Indian America. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in association with National Geographic, 2004.
Mehl-Madrona, Lewis (Cherokee/Lakota). Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing. New York: Fireside, 1997.
___. Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process. Rochester: Bear & Co., 2007.
Niethammer, Carolyn. I’ll Go and Do More: Anne Dodge Wauneka, Navajo Leader and Activist. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
Silko, Leslie Marmon (Laguna). Storyteller. New York: Seaver Books, 1981.
Snell, Alma Hogan (Crow). Grandmother’s Grandchild: My Crow Indian Life. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
___. A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Medicines. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006.
St. Pierre, Mark and Tilda Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota). Walking in the Sacred Manner: Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers—Medicine Women of the Plains Indians. New York: Touchstone, 1995.
Standing Bear, Luther (Lakota). My People the Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. Originally published in 1928.
___. My Indian Boyhood. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Originally published in 1931.
Warren, William W. (Anishinabe). History of the Ojibway People. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984. Originally published in 1885.

In addition, the following websites provide bibliographies of works by numerous Native American authors:

  • ipl2: Native American Authors
    This website provides relevant information on several Native American authors, including biographical information, bibliographies of their published works, and links to resources.

  • Native American Literature—Selected Bibliography
    This webpage, compiled by Dr. Kathryn L. McKay of Weber State University, provides a brief history of Native American literature followed by a list of Native writers (prose and poetry) and their works.


Allen, Paula Gunn (Laguna Pueblo/Lakota). Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003.
___. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986.
Apess, William (Pequot) and Barry O’Connell, ed. On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
Charon, Rita. Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Cruikshank, Julie, ed. Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.
Klein, Laura F. and Lillian A. Ackerman. Women and Power in Native North America. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
LaDuke, Winona (Ojibwe). Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming. Cambridge: South End Press, 2005.
Mourning Dove (Christine Quintasket, Colville Federated Tribe). Mourning Dove: A Salishan Autobiography. Edited by Jay Miller. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.
Sarris, Greg (Pomo). Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Saxman, Michelle C. The Canton Asylum for Insane Indians. Cultural Resources Management. 1999;22(9): 40-2.
Soule B, Soule J. Death at the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians. S D J Med. 2003 Jan;56(1):15-8. PMID: 12647372.
Spaulding JM. The Canton Asylum for Insane Indians: an example of institutional neglect. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1986 Oct;37(10):1007-11. doi: 10.1176/ps.37.10.1007. PMID: 3530958.
Webster, Kelly, ed. Library Services to Indigenous Populations: Viewpoints and Resources. Chicago: Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, American Library Association, 2005.
Weaver, Jace (Cherokee). That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Winter, Joseph C. Tobacco Use by Native North Americans: Sacred Smoke and Silent Killer. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.