Tag Archives: native american

Native American Books: Reading List

Books about indigenous culture, religion and history. These are definitely worth checking out, for natives and non-natives. This will be an ongoing list, because I am always sniffing out new books and I read a lot.

If You Only Read a Few, Read These

  • Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian by the Smithsonian
  • An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn
  • Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria Jr.

 

Generally Awesome-Religion, Culture and History of Indigenous Peoples

(Not specific to any one tribe)

  • 100 Native Americans Who Shaped History by Bonnie Juettner
  • God is Red: A Native View on Religion by Vine Deloria Jr.
  • The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey Through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows by Kent Nerburn
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
  • The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men by Vine Deloria Jr.
  • Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future by Melissa K. Nelson
  • 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World by K.B. Schaller
  • The Circle is Sacred: A Medicine Book for Women by Scout Cloud Lee
  • The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men by Lester Brown
  • American Indians in WWI: At Home and at War by Thomas Britton
  • Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law by David Wilkins
  • National Geographic on Indians of the Americas by Matthew Stirling
  • First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History by Colin Calloway
  • Indian Herbology of North America by Alma Hutchens
  • Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine and Crafts by Frances Densmore
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians by John Swanton
  • Native American Stories by Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac

Specifically Awesome

(Focuses on a Particular Tribe)

  • A Sacred Path: The Way of the Muscogee Creeks by Jean and Joyotpaul Chaudhuri (Mvskoke)
  • Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indians by Bill Grantham (Mvskoke)
  • Creek Religion and Medicine by John Swanton (Mvskoke)
  • Creek Indian Medicine Ways: The Enduring Power of Mvskoke Religion by David Lewis Jr. (Mvskoke)
  • The Wind is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman by Bear Heart (Mvskoke)
  • Native Plants Native Healing: Traditional Muskogee Way by Tis Mal Crow (Mvskoke)
  • Totkv Mocvse/New Fire: Creek Folktales by Earnest Gouge (Mvskoke)
  • The Creeks by Michael Green (Mvskoke)
  • The Cherokee Herbal: Native Plant Medicine from the Four Directions by J. T. Garrett (Tsalagi)
  • The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing by Lori Arviso Alvord (Dine)
  • Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth Fenn (Nueta)
  • Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems and the Sun Dance Opera by Zitkala-Sa (Yankton Sioux)
  • Uprising: The Pueblo Indians and the First American War for Religious Freedom by Jake Pace (Pueblo)
  • Black Elk Speaks: The Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (Oglala Sioux)

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave

This is a book that I have reread multiple times. Joy Harjo is like the voice in my heart that I never knew I had. This book recounts her life growing up as a Muscogee in Oklahoma (just like me!) through her poetry. She paints pictures with her words, describing different events in her life that changed her and shaped her. She uses many poems from her other books, as well as some new ones, and fits them in with stories about her journey from Oklahoma to Arizona for school.

I think I would go as far as to say that this is like a combined memoir and poetry anthology, because even when she is just talking about her life, it sounds like a poem. She had a very hard life growing up and yet her poetry had become renowned as some of the most well known Native American poetry ever written. That must make her so proud. She had been writing poetry since before I was even born.

I read this book when I am sad, or when I need to feel some sense of purpose. Because it gives you that. This book has a power and life all it’s own and it challenges you to take the rough patches in your life and make them into something beautiful, to learn from them and to move forward with your head held high. She is an incredible poet and often writes historical poems about the Trail of Tears and life as a Muscogee native. She often writes about music and how it is like the breath and the heartbeat of our people. I have so much respect for her, because she puts into words the way I feel when my people stomp dance at pow wows, and I never thought I would have words for that feeling.

I highly recommend ALL of her work to any Natives out there. We need to read these things. We need to know more about where we came from and the traditions of our people. I also recommend her work to any non-natives as well, because everyone should be able to appreciate and admire a culture, even from afar. Her writing is so beautiful and haunting. Everyone should read it. It is truly amazing.

Buy it here!

An Ongoing List of Native American Racial Slurs

This is just going to be something I will be adding on to as I collect things that are slurs towards indigenous and ndn peoples. It’s going to pain me to even write these words down, but this is for the education of non-native people so that they can cease using these racist terms. They are extremely hurtful, insulting and racist towards native people. These are just the ones I heard in high school and college…

Racial Slurs//

  • Squaw
  • Redskin
  • Chief
  • Feather
  • Injun
  • Indian (unless used by a native american for reclaimation purposes)
  • Red
  • Savage
  • Scalper
  • Seal Clubber
  • Squanto
  • Big Red
  • Squaw Hopper
  • Indian Giver
  • Honky
  • Pocahontas
  • Indian Brave
  • Indian Princess
  • Red man/woman

 

Phrases to Avoid//

  • “Don’t be an Indian Giver!”
  • “Let’s Have a Pow-wow!”
  • “Low on the Totem Pole..”
  • “That’s my stomping ground!”
  • “Hey, Chief!”
  • “We’re even! They have Casinos now!”
  • “How Indian are you?”
  • “You don’t look Indian to me!”
  • “Hold down the fort.”
  • “Maybe I should do a rain dance, this drought is awful!”
  • “Do you live in a teepee?”
  • “I’m going to scalp him!”
  • “That was savage!”
  • “My great great grandma was an Indian Princess!”
  • “Go Big Red! Go Redskins!”
  • “Get over it, already.”
  • “What makes the red man red?”
  • Pretty much the entire Peter Pan movie
  • Anything to do with the Washington Redskins
  • Anything at all to do with Columbus or the Vikings ‘discovering’ the Americas

 

You are not "Honoring" us. You are Hurting us. 

Today I heard that the Coweta public schools made a horrificly racist homecoming float. I didn’t believe just how racist it was until I saw it myself on the news.


I was so disgusted that I nearly vomited.

My hometown is the ‘Catoosa Indians’. And in Tulsa, the Union Public schools is the ‘R*dskins’. Both are racial slurs.

Now I’ve openly displayed my disgust of these mascots because they reinforce racist stereotypes, contribute to further cultural genocide, and teach children that racism, hatred, appropriation and annihilation of a race is acceptable, along with telling kids it’s okay to objectify and fetishize an entire group of unique cultures and peoples. 

It’s not okay. It’s unacceptable. But as a young adult in a world of middle aged white people who refuse to listen to me, an actual native person, it’s really hard to make a change. But this recent development sent me over the edge. I did what little thing I could to try to make a difference.

So, I’ve created a petition to ban all Native American mascots in Oklahoma. Other states have done it successfully and good things have come out of it. One would think that ‘Indian Territory’ would have been one of those states. And while Oklahoma City has passed legislations and ordinances to make changes, and have made positive changes, the rest of Oklahoma sits on its racism with an extreme amount of appropriative ignorance.

These racist mascots do not promote peace, they promote hatred and violence towards indigenous peoples. You are not honoring our cultures, you are mocking them and offending us. 

It’s time to change the mascots, guys.

If you are reading this, thank you so much for reading my blog. Please consider offering your support to the indigenous people of Oklahoma who are so desperately trying to preserve our traditions and cultures and sign the petition here.

A Cultural Appropriation Masterpost

This will be an ongoing list of informative and educational posts by not only myself, but other members of the POC community. They are all properly credited and when you click on the link, it will take you to their post and their blog. Please support POC bloggers and give them a follow!

Also, if you have made posts or know of really good cultural appropriation posts that you would like for me to include in this post (because my search skills can only extend so far haha), please shoot me a message with a link! Since I make posts only on ndn issues (since I am ndn), there might be a few more posts on that subject until I can find more posts to even it out! Thank you for reading!

 

The Basics//

 

First Nations and Native American Cultures//

Central and South American Cultures//

Pasifika Cultures//

Black and African Cultures//

Asian Cultures//

Roma Culture//

 

 

 

Mvskoke Creek Masterpost

This will be an ongoing, organized collection of all my posts regarding the Mvskoke people. Please remember this is just for educational purposes, unless you are also Mvskoke. I will be adding on to this list with quotations, informative posts and new links regularly.

General Information//

 

Mvskoke Culture and History//

 

Mvskoke Language//

 

Mvskoke Religion and Medicine//

 

 

Good Books to Read//

 

 

 

 

The Mvskoke and the Boarding Schools

As recounted by Mvskoke author, Bear Heart,

“Even after we were settled, that was not the end of our problems. Our children were taken from their parents and forced to go to boarding school, where they were not allowed to speak their native tongues–they had to speak English. They boarding school was a government school, so they had to march to and from class, make up their beds, do everything as if it were a military camp. This was forced upon our young children. Back then Native people took pride in their long hair, but the children had to have their hair cut short. Sometimes the administrators would just put a bowl over a child’s head and cut around it, then they would laugh at the child.

Those are the things that we endued. And yet today in our ceremonies, many of our people still pray for all mankind, whether they be black, yellow, red, or white. How is it possible, with a background like that among our people, to put out such love

The Mvskoke and Astronomy

Like our Mayan cousins, we Muscogee have a deep respect and rich history of astronomical work.

We built mounds and used poles on them to map the position of the stars. The moon guided us, we used its phases to plan our ceremonies and daily lives, and we tracked and predicted eclipses.

Our ceremonies, rituals, healing practices and medicine-making often incorporated the number four, or multiples of four.

The seven Mekkos (Chiefs) of Creek tradition mirrors the seven directions. The four cardinal directions, the fekcv (fire within spirit or energy of the observer), downward into the earth, our mother, and upward into the sky, our father.

“The Creeks were at the center of the mound builder’s culture in the south, southeast and Midwestern United States…The famous but abandoned Cahokia mounds in St. Louis may possibly have been part of the Creek world as part of the umbrella of Mississippian Valley Culture. Certainly, the evidences of astronomical research at the Cahokia remains and the Creek oral history relating the importance of mounds for observation and ritual interactions with the cosmos and their cosmological views have their parallel. Certainly, the mounds in Georgia and Alabama, and many other parts of the southeast were located in known Creek country before Columbus arrived…Many of the mounds served as the observatories of the Creeks. High, flat areas with various arrangements of long poles provided the necessary elaborate set of empirical readings for answering the basic astronomical questions that Creek traditionally were interested in..Other excavated sites such as the Incinerator Sire in Ohio and the Crystal River Site in Florida also appear to confirm the symmetries of Creek beliefs and practices. Even the serpent mounds of Ohio and elsewhere may be ritually linked with Creek science and Creek values. The Creek oral history repeatedly mentions that the Creeks traditionally went north to special mounds for pilgrimages in spring and autumn…Mounds are in part symbols of this link–platforms for studying the sky “scientifically” and placating nature ritually. The fascination with mounds is primarily associated with the Creeks and other culturally related tribes, not with the Iroquois, Sioux, Kiowa or Comanche groups…The oral traditions of the Creek refer to visiting the pilgrimage sites to the north and also making contacts with other tribes around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico…The Creeks, like many other societies, used a combination of a solar and lunar calendar…Creek stargazers, astronomers and mekko attempted to understand lunar eclipses. Fascination with and fear of eclipses were common in many traditional societies. With the Creeks, however, lunar eclipses were meaningful acts of sheer beauty. They spoke in terms of love–of the bashful female moon putting a veil over a private trust with the male sun and then devouring the sun with love. The Creeks knew that after the enticements (partial eclipses) the final tryst, that is, the full lunar eclipse and its special relationship with the sun, occurred once every eighteen years and, according to oral history, special ceremonies occurred at that time. Counting months by lunar measurements gradually results in the dis-junction between the lunar months and the timing of the four seasons-spring, summer, fall and winter-which are determined more dominantly by the behavior of the sun. The sun-based shifts of the harvest, however, again become correlated with the lunar monthly cycles every eighteen lunar cycles, hence, the importance of the full lunar eclipse as a coordinate for calculations of time. The importance of the eighteen year cycle is corroborated by Creek stories. A generation is an eighteen year cycle, after that, a new generation or spiritual regeneration occurs. The Creek beliefs when the ‘wedding’ of the moon and the sun takes place every eighteen years, a new set of spirits is created which invigorates the earth under the blessings of the seven mekkos of the Pleiades. It is in these eighteen year adjustments that the creative miracles of new spirits and energies are infused in nature and in human societies and cycles…”

-Jean and Jhoyatpaul Chaudhuri

Support Native Americans and Buy Native

This is going to be an ongoing list of ndn artisans.

 

Moccasins//

Sharolyn Maleport (Chippewa)

TP Mocs (Blackfeet)

 

Jewelry//

Stephanie Pinkham (Nez Perce)

Cindi (Lakota)

Lea Lattie (Cherokee)

Rainey ‘Nasugraq’ Hopson (Inupiaq Eskimo)

Kathy Whitman-Elk Woman ( Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara) 

Dean Couchie (Nipissing)

Mary Whiteshield Lomax (Cheyenne/Arapaho)

Angela Davis (Navajo/Apache)

Leanna (Nez Perce)

White Antelope (Acoma) 

Kiamichi Goodbear (Ponca/Choctaw)

 

Artists and Authors//

Moonhawk Art (Cherokee/Mvskoke Creek)

Theresa Hatathlie (Navajo)

Nani Chacon (Navajo/Chicana)

David Sloan (Navajo)

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Creek)

Dana Tiger (Mvskoke/Cherokee/Seminole)

Traci Rabbit (Cherokee)

Linda Kukuk (Choctaw)

Nadiya Littlewarrior (Cherokee)

 

Dreamcatchers//

Linda Andre (Ottawa)

Denise Pratt (Pokagon Band, Potawatomi) 

Moose-R-Us (Ojibwe)

 

A Little of Everything//

Cherokee Nation Gift Shop (Cherokee)

Alaska Native Heritage Center (Alaskan Native Tribes)

Sacred Ground Trading Post (Chumash Owner)

Miranda ‘Violet’ Navarro (Mvskoke Creek/Cherokee)

Aiden Warrior (Cherokee)

Loree Ann (Menomimee)

Christy Ruby (Tlingit)

Kachina House (Various Southern Tribes)

Sara Cooper (Metis/Cree)

 

Additions:

If you are an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, please send me a message with the link to your online store, your tribal affiliation, your artist name, and the category you wish to be listed under.

 

A Note on Appropriation:

A few people complained on my last post about cultural appropriation. I myself am an enrolled member of the Mvskoke Creek Nation of Oklahoma on my mother’s side, and of Western Cherokee ancestry on my father’s side. I have written a plethora of posts regarding cultural appropriation of NDN tribes. I would never compile a list that would condone the further abuse of my people. When you are buying something that is authentically native-made, you are not appropriating, you are appreciating. This is because you are supporting Natives by purchasing articles from them that they have consented to sell and that they benefit financially from directly. I have researched, or know personally, all of the entries on this list and have disclosed their tribal information in order to reassure consumers that they are legally creating and selling their wares in accordance with the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.

Please Help Standing Rock!

Dear Fellow NDNs and Allies,

Help Standing Rock. 

The national guard has just been sent to back up the so called ‘law enforcement’ at Standing Rock. The same law enforcement that let children get mauled by attack dogs.

I am requesting that you stand with us. I myself am too broke to afford the trip to North Dakota, but I am doing everything I can do support my people from where I am.

This is their statement on their website,

“We, the Standing Rock Youth, oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the Missouri and Cannon Ball River because it poses a serious threat to our water and our land.

This campaign echoes our belief that together, we can protect our water and our future.

Join our mission for clean safe water by signing our petition urging the Army Corps of Engineer NOT to sign off on a construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.With YOUR help we can work to maintain and protect this sacred land.”

There are many ways we can help while not being physically present. 

You can share their website on social media. 

You can sign this petition. And this one. And this one. Sharing these on social media helps as well. 

You can write an email to President Obama, asking him to please take action. 

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

You can donate to their paypal, donate to their gofundme, donate to their legal funddonate supplies, or buy from their amazon wish list

This is so important. This could escalate into another Wounded Knee. Our people are trying to protect the water and the land. So much damage has already been done. We only get one planet.