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Indigenous Popular Materials & Resources



Welcome to the Native American Literature tab!

Here you will find resources and materials on Native American literature to assist in your research.

We have a section on Research Tools, a video of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and an Author's Highlight featuring Native American authors and some of their works. We also have some websites with book lists on the side panel and a Note on Terms.

Native American literatures come from oral tradition origins that included storytelling and poetry. Early written literature emerged in political and autobiographical texts like William Apess’ A Son of the Forest, followed by texts focusing on their lives and culture or fiction like Lynn Riggs’ Green Grow the Lilacs which is the basis for the play Oklahoma! This period was followed by the “Native American Renaissance”, marked by N. Scott Momaday winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969. Since then, various authors have emerged into popular culture from the 1970s to present day. Many have become unarguably successful, like Louise Erdrich and Tommy Orange becoming Pulitzer Prize finalists or Joy Harjo becoming the first Native American US Poet Laureate.

Native American Literature Quiz! Trivia - ProProfs Quiz

Research Tools

Key Terms

A user can find relevant articles with key search terms. A combination of the following will yield appropriate responses: “Native American” “Native” “Indigenous” “American Indian” or specific tribe names such as “Ojibwe” “Pequot” or others, and “literature” or specific types of literature such as “oral storytelling” "oral history" “poetry” “memoir” “fiction” “drama” “children’s literature” etc. 

Boolean Operators

In addition to using keywords listed in the box above, Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) will assist you with finding sources.

AND: will return results containing both words entered in the search (Native American AND literature)

OR: will return results with either search term used; can be helpful when searching for synonyms or related terms (Native OR Indigenous)

Quotation marks will search the exact term ("Native American literature")

Parenthesis will help improve a search by allowing for multiple search filters: (Native American OR Indigenous OR American Indian) AND Literature

Truncation will widen a search with a wildcard symbol (*), so any variation of the root will be gathered (Photo* will return Photograph, Photographer, Photography, Photosynthesis, etc.)


Contact the liaison librarian to the Native American and Indigenous Studies program, Adriana Casarez ( for research help.

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland

To kick off Native American Heritage Month, Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, joins Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary, in a conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

For transcript and more information, visit

Author's Highlight

N. Scott Momaday

N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His novel House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969, and is considered the pivotal, first step in the Native American Renaissance. Other books of his to check out include The Way to Rainy Mountain. The Death of Sitting Bear, and others.

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo (Muscogee Nation) is a poet, musician, playwright, and author as well as the United States Poet Laureate. Her works include Crazy Brave, An American Sunrise, Poet Warrior, and She Had Some Horses among others.

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich (Anishinaabe) is an author of novels, poetry and children's books. Some of her books to check out include the Pulitzer Prize winner, The Night Watchman; The Sentence; National Book Award winner The Round House; The Red Convertible; and LaRose among more. 

Smokii Sumac

Smokii Sumac (Ktunaxa) is a poet whose first book of poetry, you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, was published won the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished English Poetry while unpublished and won the Indigenous Voices Award for English Poetry when published.

Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo Indian) is a novelist, poet and essayist. Books to check out include Ceremony, Yellow Woman, Storyteller and Almanac of the Dead among others. 

Gerald Vizenor

Gerald Vizenor (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) is an author and scholar. His works include Bearheart, The Heirs of Columbus, Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance and others. 

Angeline Boulley

Angeline Boulley (Chippewa) is an author whose debut book, Firekeeper's Daughter, "was named one of the top 100 young adult novels of all time by TIME magazine, was a New York Times best seller, and will be adapted into a miniseries by Higher Ground."

Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Cree) is a two-spirit novelist and poet. Jonny Appleseed is a must read by this author. They also have Full-metal Indigiqueer: Poems and a highly anticipated, 2022 non-fiction book, Making Love with the Land. 

Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfoot NA) author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction. The Only Good Indians is a must-read, along with his other works including My Heart is a Chainsaw, and Mongrels among others. 

Louis Owens

Louis Owens (Choctaw, Cherokee) was a novelist and scholar. Books to check out include Mixedblood Messages, The Sharpest Sight, I Hear the Train, Dark River and others. 

Linda K. Hogan

Linda K. Hogan (Chickasaw) is a poet, storyteller, academic, playwright, novelist, environmentalist and writer of short stories. Her works include Solar Storms, The Book of Medicines, The Woman Who Watches Over the World and others. 

Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson (Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations) is an author whose works include the award-winning Son of a Trickster, Trickster Drift, Return of the Trickster, Monkey Beach and others.

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes) is an author whose first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award.

Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott (Tuscarora) is an author and editor whose works include the critcally acclaimed book, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground.

Note on Terms

Native American literature can also be called Indian literature or American Indian literature, which are terms still used today colloquially and in cataloguing, including by the Library of Congress Subject Headings. While these terms may seem acceptable to some, others would argue that they are offensive because language evolves as people understand the colonial context of certain terms. When researching the topic, students should be aware that it is important to use language that respects indigenous peoples, rather than defaulting to terms based in colonialist language. Still, many institutions and libraries employ these terms in their systems while cataloging, so using them as search terms is still recommended to yield the most results.


Where can I find a broad overview on Native American literature?

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