“Renaissance” is a loaded term: often what it denotes is greater visibility rather than any real increase in intellectual or artistic activity. With that said, the past few years have seen a marked uptick in Indigenous books and writers reaching large audiences and garnering significant acclaim.
Joy Harjo (Muscogee) is the current Poet Laureate of the United States, the first Native American to fill that position. The gorgeous and harrowing poetry collection Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) and There There by Tommy Orange (Arapaho and Cheyenne) have both won universal critical recognition, while sweeping histories of Native American history have reached out to the general reader–The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer; An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz; and Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, by Nick Estes. Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Natalie Díaz speak to the Latinx/Indigenous experience of the Southwest and Mountain West; Fajardo-Anstine’s collection of short stories, Sabrina and Corina, is on the National Book Award shortlist, and Díaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec is one of the best volumes of poetry I’ve read in the past five years.
To mark Indigenous People’s Day today, I wanted merely to open a thread here to ask if you’ve recently read any histories, fiction, poetry, or anything else that we might see as part of this wonderful reinvigoration of Indigenous culture and history. If you have a title you’d like to share, please add it in the comments!