Native American & Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month 2021

Posted & filed under Blog, display, Youth & Teen.

Join us in celebrating Native, Indigenous and First Nations voices this November, which is Native American Heritage Month, throughout our library. The fantastic video below, created by co-founders of Little Cheiis, Wade M. Adakai (Diné (Navajo) & Antonio Ramirez (Navajo/Hopi), offers the history and origins of Native American Heritage Month.

In 2019 and 2020 we created several book and interactive displays in our Youth & Teen Services department. There’s truly something for everybody – all year round! Visit us any time to borrow any of these fantastic books and take a copy of our resources. You can also use the links below to put books on hold to pick up at your convenience. They also make excellent gifts from your local indie bookshop. You can even buy books from Native owned stores like Red Planet Books and Comics and Birchbark Books! Book mail is the best!


For a full list of recommended adult books, click here.

For a full list of recommended teen books, click here.

For a full list of recommended middle grade books, click here.

For a full list of recommended informational books, click here.

For a full list of recommended picture books, click here.

Caregiver Care Kit: Read Native: Celebrating Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month

This year, we created a special Caregiver Care Kit: Read Native: Celebrating Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month kit that you can pick up in the library and in our Great Green Box. We also wanted to ensure these resources are available digitally so they’re more accessible for everyone.

The resources in this kit have been curated by Ms. Ann, our Early Literacy Specialist – with some help from Ms. Eti, to help support you and your family.

There are materials for you, the grown-up, as well as activities to do together with your child(ren).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Ann.

Read Native

Take the READ NATIVE Challenge from the American Indian Library Association: Here’s the official description: “The American Indian Library Association invites you to participate in the inaugural reading challenge. With this challenge we support and recognize our Indigenous authors, scientists, legislators, storytellers, and creators throughout the year, not just during the national Native American Heritage month. Throughout the year, find and read books and publications by and about Native Americans; visit tribal websites; search peer reviewed scholarly journals; visit Native-owned bookstores; and check with Native librarians for all of the best sources for learning more about Native Americans and Indigenous people around the world.” You can print out challenge logs here.

We have curated lots of fantastic books you can borrow from our library to take on this challenge! We’d love to hear what about what you read! And we’re always happy to make recommendations for you!


We All Play kimêtawânaw written and illustrated by Julie Flett: Companion Guide for Teachers and Parents by Jackie Lever

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac Educator Guide

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade Educator Guide

Worksheet For Selecting Native American Children’s Literature (Native Knowledge 360)

Molly of Denali: Molly and her Friends Coloring Page

Molly of Denali: Count & Count!

Coloring sheets from Saskatchewan Polytechnic School Activity Book

The Impact of Words and Tips for Using Appropriate Terminology: Am I Using the Right Word? (National Museum of the American Indian)

Teaching Respect For Native Peoples (by Oyate; hosted at Scholastic)

Deconstructing the Myths of ‘The First Thanksgiving’ by Judy Dow (Oyate)

Craft: Gratitude Jar

Getting into a gratitude practice has measurable benefits on physical and mental health. Every day, even the worst ones, has at least one moment to be grateful for. Model expressing these thankful feelings for your child(ren) and help them to notice the kindnesses all around them. Every day (or week, or whatever you feel like it!), help your child(ren) to write down something that they’re thankful for on a slip of scrapbook paper. Fold the paper and put it inside a jar. When the jar is full (or when you run out of paper), empty it out and take some time reading the slips of paper together as a family and enjoying the happy memories!


We’re so excited for Season 2 of Molly of Denali, which you can watch on YouTube and PBS Kids, which also includes tons of educational resources.

From Sesame Street in Communities: Meet the Clutes, a traditional Mohawk family from the Akwesasne territory in northern New York State. Mom Kawennahente, Dad Tehanonshake, and children Iakokariio, Raniehtanawenhtha, Teiakotshatatenion, and Kaweienonni live in Mohawk territory in upstate New York, close to the Canadian border. In this video, they talk about respect, stereotypes, fairness, justice, and resilience in direct, age-appropriate, and honest ways as they celebrate their culture and community.

Digital Resources for Learning More about Native, Indigenous, and First Nations Peoples

We have compiled resources that we hope can be helpful. This is NOT an exhaustive or definitive list of resources, but a collection of tools and resources we have found useful and informative as we have been curating our display and continuously learning more. The descriptions are from their websites. We put together a paper brochure in our displays for patrons to take, explore, & share. We’ve adapted the handout to make it accessible online here.


Native Land

This is a resource for North Americans (and others) to find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages.

Reclaiming Native Truth

Reclaiming Native Truth is a national effort to foster cultural, social and policy change by empowering Native Americans to counter discrimination, invisibility and the dominant narratives that limit Native opportunity, access to justice, health and self-determination. Reclaiming Native Truth’s goal is to move hearts and minds toward greater respect, inclusion and social justice for Native Americans. It was co-designed and co-led by IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma) and Echo Hawk Consulting.

Native Knowledge 360°

Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. NK360° provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.

Molly of Denali (Teaching Resources Collection)

Informational text and Alaska Native culture form the basis of the groundbreaking Molly of Denali series and its educational resources. This collection offers videos, digital games, lessons, teaching tips, and activities so that educators can utilize the series in the classroom and home.

Living Nations, Living Words (signature project from Joy Harjo, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States)

Each location marker reveals a Native Nations poet and features an image, biography, and a link to hear the poet recite and comment on an original poem. This body of work forms the foundation of a “Living Nations, Living Words” online collection in the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.

Find & Evaluate Books

American Indians in Children’s Literature

Established in 2006 by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books. Dr. Jean Mendoza joined AICL as a co-editor in 2016.

2019 Arbuthnot Lecture: An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children’s Literature by Dr. Debbie Reese (Children and Libraries). You can watch the recorded livestream of the lecture here

Indigo’s Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth

“Florida” Seminole & Miccosukee teens review books by and about Native peoples and comment on other news of interest to their communities.

American Indian Youth Literature Award

Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by and about Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America.

Teacher and Librarian Resources for Native American Children’s and Young Adult Books

Cynthia Leitich Smith, a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is a best-selling, award-winning children’s-YA writer, writing teacher, and the author-curator of the Native-centered Heartdrum imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books. This bibliography is compiled in hopes of improving education related to Native peoples and Nations. (Cynthia’s entire website is an invaluable resource.)

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith website


Native America Calling

Native America Calling brings listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities.


Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Falen Johnson takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country. The Unreserved team offers real talk from the people behind the headlines, with a soundtrack from the best in Indigenous music.

All My Relations

All My Relations is a team of folks who care about representations, and how Native peoples are represented in mainstream media. Hosts Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), delve into a different topic facing Native peoples today, bringing in guests from all over Indian Country to offer perspectives and stories.

This Land

Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of Cherokee Nation. An 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader and a 1999 murder case – two crimes nearly two centuries apart provide the backbone to a 2020 Supreme Court decision that determined the fate of five tribes and nearly half the land in Oklahoma.


Kīwew is a five-part podcast in which Governor General award-winning author David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree Nation) dives into his family’s history and mysteries as he discovers and connects with his Cree identity.

This Place: 150 Years Retold Podcast

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel anthology, This Place is a 10-part journey through one-hundred and fifty years of Indigenous resistance and resilience, hosted by Rosanna Deerchild (O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation).

Learning Experiences

NK360° Webinars: Giving Thanks: Telling More Complete Narratives About Thanksgiving

Engage with primary sources and artwork to grapple with the mythology of the “First Thanksgiving”. Teachers will identify how misrepresentations contribute to the false narratives around the First Thanksgiving and its participants.

Native American & Indigenous Series with Dakota County Library

Join Dakota County Library for a series that uplifts diverse experiences and voices of Indigenous, Native and American Indian communities. Honor and celebrate Native peoples through literature, storytelling, music and the arts. Learn about historical and contemporary personal experiences of being Native in America and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Indigenous life and Native cultures.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Chicago Public Library in November

Join Chicago Public Library in celebrating and uplifting Native/Indigenous voices with Chicago Public Library in November. This year, we celebrate (Re)Taking Up Space, inviting all to listen to our guest speakers talk about unceded lands, celebrate representation and inclusion in contemporary media and learn more about important issues such as the movement for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People.

Illuminatives Native American Education for All

IllumiNative is partnering with the National Indian Education Association and Amplifier to create and disseminate engaging digital education tools, lesson plans, and resources about Native American art, culture, history and contemporary life.

Living Nations, Living Words (signature project from Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States)

Each location marker reveals a Native Nations poet and features an image, biography, and a link to hear the poet recite and comment on an original poem. This body of work forms the foundation of a “Living Nations, Living Words” online collection in the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.


Empower Native Kids to Read by Aliyah Chavez (Kewa Pueblo) (Indian Country Today)

How Native Writers Talk Story: Honoring Authentic Voices in Books for Young People by ​​​​​​​Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek Nation) and Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation) (School Library Journal)

Native Perspectives: Books by, for, and about Indigenous People: Great Books by ​​​​​​​Kara Stewart (Sappony) (School Library Journal)

Unteaching the Native Narrative by Kara Stewart (Sappony) (School Library Journal)

“Readers are Realizing their Hunger for our Stories:” Native Literature for Kids and Teens by Kelly Jensen (Book Riot)

Looking for even more awesome resources? Make sure to check out our YouTube channel for booktalks throughout this month celebrating Native and Indigenous voices!