American Indian History: Books for Young People

We Are Still Here!

These books offer young people the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of the history of Native peoples throughout North America. From picture books to atlases, these titles challenge the depictions of Native history that so many students have encountered in schools and popular culture, reframing that history while also highlighting important events, accomplishments, and cultural traditions.


1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving

A considerable amount of information is packed into this pictorial presentation of the reenactment of the first Thanksgiving, held at Plimoth Plantation museum in October, 2000…Five chapters give background on the Wampanoag people, colonization, Indian diplomacy, the harvest of 1621, and the evolution of the Thanksgiving story. — School Library Journal

A Native American Thought of It

Learn about the Native American roots of many inventions, foods, and games that are part of our lives today, such as maple syrup, volleyball, and sunscreen. With descriptive photos and information-packed text, this book explores eight different categories in which the creativity of Native Americans from across the continent led to important inventions, innovations, and ideas.

Atlas of Indian Nations

Atlas of Indian Nations
Age Level: Middle Grade

Atlas of Indian Nations, written by Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer, is a comprehensive resource for those interested in Native American history and culture. Told through maps, photos, art, and archival cartography, this is the story of American Indians that only National Geographic can tell.   In the most comprehensive atlas of Native American history and culture available, the story of the North American Indian is told through maps, photos, art, and archival cartography.

C is for Chickasaw

Illustratoin of Chickasaw individuals
Illustrated by: Aaron K. Long
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Chickasaw

C is for Chickasaw walks children through the letters of the alphabet, sharing elements of Chickasaw history, language, and culture along the way. Writing with multiple age groups in mind, Wiley Barnes has skillfully crafted rhyming verse that will capture and engage a younger child's imagination, while also including in-depth explanations of each object or concept that will resonate with older children. The colorful illustrations by Aaron Long reflect elements of Southeastern Native American art and serve to familiarize children with aspects of this distinctive artistic style.

Do All Indians Live in Tipis?: Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian

Native staff members at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian have handled a wide array of questions over the years. This book presents their answers. Organized by topics such as sovereignty, history, clothing and housing, languages, and music, the book features nearly 100 thought-provoking questions and answers about American Indians, illustrated with black-and-white photographs from the NMAI's collection and elsewhere.

Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations

More than 450 inventions and innovations that can be traced to indigenous peoples of North, Middle, and South America are described in this wonderful encyclopedia…Among the entries are Adobe, Agriculture, Appaloosa horse breed, Chocolate, Cigars, Diabetes medication, Freeze-drying, Hydraulics, Trousers, Urban planning, and Zoned biodiversity. — Booklist

Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children

Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children
Age Level: 9-12

In Native cultures, the night is a crucial part of the Great Circle and balance in the universe. In the tradition of the best-selling Keepers of the Earth and Keepers of the Animals, this collection offers unique ideas about understanding the natural world by looking at it through a nocturnal lens. Resources and activities include legends and myths, puppet shows, stargazing guides, campfire topics, and traditional dances.

Keeping Promises: What Is Sovereignty and Other Questions About Indian Country

Keeping Promises describes the complex but important relationship between Indian tribes and the U.S. government throughout more than two hundred years of war and treaties. Learn how land, ceremony, tradition, history, law, and politics intersect to define tribal sovereignty and understand how Indians define themselves, their tribes, and their sovereignty in this detailed overview from Native journalists Betty Reid [Diné (Navajo)] and Ben Winton [Pascua Yaqui Aztec, Crow].

Native American Games and Stories

Illustrated by: Kayeri Akweks
Age Level: 6-9

An important credo of Native life states that you can learn while you play and play while you learn. Readers can pore over intriguing stories and play these fun-filled games as they learn how global thought and beliefs can transcend their own lives. Sample themes, stories, and games include the Ball Players in the Sky (Passamaquoddy); Gluskabe Brings the Summer (Abenaki); and Nanabush and the Ducks (Anishinabe).

Roots of the Iroquois

"Roots Of The Iroquois tells of beginnings of the Iroquois Confederacy or the Haudenosaunee, people of the long house, eventually consisting of 6 bands, the Mohawks, Oneida, Onandagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and in the south, the Tuscarorans. These Native American groups established a coalition government with a Great Law Kalianerakowa, or Great Nice Way. Today historians finally are beginning to realize this confederation and system of government was in fact a viable model for the early American thirteen colonies." — Midwest Book Review

The Long Walk: The Forced Navajo Exile

Diné (Navajo) historian Dr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale tells the story of the forced removal of the Diné to Bosque Redondo, a reservation in eastern New Mexico. Collectively known as the Long Walk, the approximately 400-mile-long series of marches was endured by more than 8,000 men, women, and children. The text includes photographs, artwork, a timeline, and recommended resources.

The People Shall Continue

The People Shall Continue
Illustrated by: Sharol Graves
Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: In 1977, Children's Book Press published this groundbreaking book, which "was and is hailed as an honest history of colonization in North America." The epic story begins with Creation to the present day, telling of the struggles, endurance, and survival of American Indians. In 2017, the book was re-released for its 40th anniversary edition.

Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School

Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: Middle Grade

This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures.

Waumpum Belts of the Iroquois

With the direction of and encouragement from Mohawk elder and tribal scholar Tehanetorens, the students of the Onkwehonwe Neha/Indian Way School at Akwesasne Mohawk Nation made authentic, exact copies of the sacred Haudenosaunee wampum belts and strings. Here, Tehanetorens and his students interpret the belts and set them in the context of the history of the Haudenosaunee people. This important book is a must in any classroom in which the U.S. Constitution is taught. — Oyate