Thirty-five years ago, Native Americans had little
voice in literature. Folktales
and legends, which entered American culture through movies, television and books written by
outsiders, attempted to tell the stories of American
Indians living on reservations, farms and in cities.
It was not until 1968, when N. Scott Momaday published
his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "House Made of Dawn,"
that people read the primary text of a Native
American. During the 1970s, more works by Momaday
appeared, along with other novels, poetry and short
stories. Narrating their own lives, religions and
cultures, Native Americans built a genre that now
fills bookstores and is taught in classrooms from
kindergarten through graduate school.
Like other historically oppressed groups, Native
Americans incorporated influences, traditions and personal experiences into
their work. Link
to the following sites for a well-rounded overview of
Native American literature:
IPL: Native American Authors
This portion of the Internet Public Library allows
readers to search by author, title and tribe for 450
authors and 1,400 books. It also offers links to more than
1,400 Web sites related to Native American literature.
You'll find extensive bibliographies, electronic
texts, resources and tribal sites.
Part of NativeWeb.com, these pages are filled with resources, reviews and
online texts of books, poetry and music from aboriginal
people around the world. Content is organized by genre, subject and region.
American Indian Library Association
This organization's site offers conference
information, bibliographies and dozens of Native
American literature links and resources. You can
become a member, receive newsletters, and submit your
Dedicated to the accurate portrayal of Native
Americans in books and other media, this site provides an
age-appropriate listing of books, teaching materials
and multimedia resources. Be sure to check out the organizations list of
books to avoid.
The Official Sherman Alexie Site
The author of "The Lone Ranger" and "Tonto Fistfight in
Heaven," which inspired the movie Smoke Signals, offers
reader reviews and excerpts from his own work. More than
13 books, anthologies, poetry, music, essays and
a film make this Native author a favorite in the
N. Scott Momaday
The Academy of Achievement maintains this site,
complete with a profile, biography, photos and an
Paula Gunn Allen
This simple Internet Public Library site provides biographical and bibliographical
information on the feminist writer who pens novels,
nonfiction, poetry, and articles, all while editing
anthologies. Gunn Allen taught at University of California at Los Angeles before her retirement in 1999.
If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything
This literacy project aims to assist libraries
serving Native American children. You can learn about each school involved,
hear from the group's president and offer donations
at this site.