Indigenous Women Writers

10 remarkable works by Native American women

Strand Book Store
Jan 14 · 5 min read

Most people are gearing up for the Women’s March on Washington this coming weekend (Strand even has a DIY sign making event!), but this weekend is also an important one for Indigenous people across the world. Scheduled just a day before the Women’s March is the Indigenous Peoples March on January 18. This grassroots initiative’s goal is to “unite the Indigenous peoples across the World to stand together to bring awareness to the injustices affecting Indigenous men, women and children.” Indigenous people face voter suppression, family separation, human trafficking, and an endless array of injustices on top of their marginalized status in society. Native women, in particular, are subjected to unspeakable brutalities where often no justice is served. Strand is sharing a list of Indigenous women authors in hopes of amplifying their voices and bringing people closer to understanding their unique struggles.

Visit indigenouspeoplesmovement.com for more information on the march.


Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

With a mix of thoughtful poems and longer narratives, Soldier shows how the U.S. government has manipulated Natives over the years and how her dual citizenship with the U.S. and the Oglala Lakota Nation has affected her life.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Elderidge

The author takes the reader to the Ojibwe reservation where evolution is reversed, and women are giving birth to primitive babies. One woman is pregnant, but she fears her baby will be taken away by the cruel law. Elderidge is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized tribe of the Anishinaabe.

The Break by Katherena Vermette

The Break focuses on an extended family in Winnipeg who must deal with a sudden act of violence in their community. Drawing from her own experience, Vermette is of Métis descent and originates from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

In this historical work, Dunbar-Ortiz, whose mother was believed to be of partial Native American descent, reveals the shocking history of genocide against Native people in the United States. She chronicles how the Natives actively resisted oppression, and how their stories were intentionally erased.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

When the author was hospitalized for her mental illnesses, she began to write about her deeply dysfunctional upbringing and work her way towards healing. Mailhot grew up on the Seabird Island First Nation reservation.

As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Alderville First Nation member Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explains how Indigenous resistance has a long history and is a continuing struggle against erasure. As the federal government tries to remove land protections, build pipelines, and ignore the murders of Indigenous women, Indigenous people have fought to reject colonialism and the exploitation and white supremacy it is based on.

Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

In this hauntingly beautiful memoir, Muscogee Nation member Joy Harjo reveals details about her difficult upbringing while weaving in tribal myths, elements of her own spirituality, and poetry.

I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism by Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle is a prolific author and performer among the Stó:lō people in Canada. Her nonfiction book empowers Native women while also being intensely personal for Maracle, who struggles with womanhood, spirituality, and political independence.

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, Book 1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/African-American heritage pens an exhilarating story of Maggie the monster hunter, who must use her supernatural gifts to survive in a post-apocalypic world where gods, heroes, and monsters walk the land.

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

World War II veteran Tayo copes with mental health issues after returning home to Laguna Pueblo, where the author of the book is also from. His only hope for healing is to dive into his ancestral history.


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