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Memorial Hall Library

Memoirs For Indigenous Peoples' Day

MHL is closed on Monday, October 12th in obserance of the holiday that Massachusetts formally recognizes as Columbus Day, but that some states and cities observe as Indigenous Peoples' Day, in honor of the history of the Native Americans who were already living in North America when Columbus arrived. This year the Peabody Essex Museum's observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day has gone virtual, so you can join in their activities remotely. (To attend the museum in person on other days, you can also book the library's museum pass for the PEM!) Here are some great memoirs written by American Indians or non-natives with strong connections to a tribal community.

 

Apple : Skin to the Core
Apple : Skin to the Core
by Eric Gansworth

The term "Apple" is a slur in Native communities across the country. It's for someone supposedly "red on the outside, white on the inside." Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.
Crazy brave : a memoir
Crazy brave : a memoir
by Joy Harjo

This memoir from the Native American poet and author of She Had Some Horses describes her youth with an abusive stepfather, becoming a single teen mom and how she struggled to finally find inner peace and her creative voice.
Dreaming in Indian : contemporary Native American voices
Dreaming in Indian : contemporary Native American voices
by Lisa Charleyboy


Anthology of art and writings from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today. Whether addressing the effects of residential schools, calling out bullies through personal manifestos, or simply citing hopes for the future, Dreaming In Indian refuses to shy away from difficult topics.
Good Friday on the rez : a Pine Ridge odyssey
Good Friday on the rez : a Pine Ridge odyssey
by David Bunnell

A magnificent mix of memoir and recent Native American history is told through a 280-mile car trip around the Pine Ridge Reservation where the author lived during and after the siege at Wounded Knee, tracking the torment and miraculous resurrection of Native American pride, spirituality and culture.
Heart berries : a memoir
Heart berries : a memoir
by Terese Marie Mailhot

A powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma.
Native country of the heart : a memoir
Native country of the heart : a memoir
by Cherríe Moraga

From the pioneering queer theorist Cherríe Moraga, a memoir about her relationship with her mother, and her people.
#Notyourprincess : voices of Native American women
#Notyourprincess : voices of Native American women
by Lisa Charleyboy

American Indian Youth Literature Awards: Young Adult
A collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art exhibit the voices of Indigenous women across North America.
Prison writings : my life is my sun dance
Prison writings : my life is my sun dance
by Leonard Peltier

Incarcerated for the last twenty-four years after a trial resulting from his actions at the Incident at Oglala, the 1960s Native American activist shares his life story, as well as philosophical views on prison and how it has affected him.
Spirit run : a 6,000-mile marathon through North America's stolen land
Spirit run : a 6,000-mile marathon through North America's stolen land
by Noe Alvarez

A debut memoir by the son of working-class Mexican immigrants describes his upbringing in Washington State, membership in the Peace and Dignity Journeys movement and competition in the Native American cultural marathon from Canada to Guatemala.
The woman who watches over the world : a native memoir
The woman who watches over the world : a native memoir
by Linda Hogan

A Native American woman blends her personal history of struggle with the story of native women who participated in key events during the Indian Wars more than a century ago.
You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
by Sherman Alexie

The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.
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