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Cat in the Stax: Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

In a previous blog post, I discussed how November celebrates creative writing and storytelling. This, however, is not the only observance of the month. November is also Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month. Officially established in 1990 by President George W. Bush, this month is dedicated to recognizing the contributions made by Indigenous peoples to the growth of the US as a nation as well as celebrating their traditions, histories, and cultures. What’s really cool is that you can honor both creative writing and Native Americans by supporting Native American storytelling! Use Falvey’s search catalogue to find books by Indigenous writers. This is a great chance to honor their voices and expand your readership. Here are some prominent Native American authors whose books can be found at the Library:

Sherman Alexie

Probably one of the most well-known Indigenous writers today, Sherman Alexie has written several novels as well as collections of poetry and short stories. He has received many awards for his work, including a National Book Award, which he won for the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His writing is influenced by his own experiences growing up on a Spokane Indian reservation, and it addresses serious themes such as poverty with humor and compassion.

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich has written a plethora of novels as well as books of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir. Her first novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. A later book, The Plague of Doves was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Erdrich’s work depicts Native American characters, focusing particularly on the Ojibwa people who live in the northern Midwest.

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is best known for her poetry, although she has also written memoirs, screenplays, and children’s books. The 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, her more popular collections include In Mad Love and War, which won an American Book Award, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales.

Gerald Vizenor

A professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico, Gerald Vizenor is one of the most prolific Native American writers. He has written over 30 books along with several poems, screenplays, and essays. He won the American Book Award in 1988 for his novel Griever: An American Monkey King in China, which incorporates Native Mythology into a Chinese setting. He won the same award 20 years later for his book Shrouds of White Earth.

In honor of Native American and Indigenous Heritage month, the Library will be hosting a panel on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. This event is to celebrate the publication of Dana Lloyd’s new book “Land is Kin: Sovereignty, Religious Freedom, and Indigenous Sacred Sites.” Please consider attending.

Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.



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Last Modified: November 15, 2023

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