First Nations Development Institute Celebrates Native American Heritage Month with Expanded Children's Literature List and #NativeReads Campaign
LONGMONT, Colorado (Nov. 1, 2016) – Today is the beginning of Native American Heritage Month in the U.S., and First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) continues to honor that heritage by celebrating Native-themed children's literature.
On Oct. 19 – ahead of this month's celebration – First Nations launched the national #NativeReads campaign with five featured children's books by Native authors. Today, First Nations is significantly expanding the list to include a total of 30 "must read" books.
"We feel it is important to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about Native experiences from a culturally and historically accurate perspective," noted First Nations President & CEO Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit) at the #NativeReads launch. "A core part of our work is to change the narrative on how American Indians are viewed … by making the invisible visible, by actively refuting persistent negative stereotypes, and by shifting the pervasive misperceptions. Education makes a significant difference in breaking down stereotypes, reshaping collaborations and building bridges of understanding in the world today. A great place to start for young people is with Native authors writing about Native America."
First Nations partnered with Debbie Reese, Ph.D. (Nambé Pueblo) to hand pick the Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading List. Dr. Reese, known for her expertise in the field of Native children's literature, is an educator and has served on many national literacy boards. She is the editor and publisher of the American Indians in Children's Literature website.
The expanded list of 30 books contains essential reading for young people from Head Start and preschool, to elementary and middle schoolers. For high school students there are even Native graphic novels and comic books. The reading list is full of unique, culturally authentic stories and cover art. Some of the 30 titles include:
Head Start and Preschool
Boozhoo: Come Play With Us by Deanna Himango (Ojibwe)
(Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, 2002, Minneapolis, MN)
Early Elementary Grades K-3
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson (Mohawk)
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015, New York, NY)
Middle Grades 4-7
Son Who Returns by Gary Robinson (Choctaw/Cherokee)
(7th Generation, 2014, Summertown, TN)
High School Grades 8-12
Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today (a collection of stories by Native writers) edited by Lori Marie Carlson
(HarperCollins, 2005, New York, NY)
Comics and Graphic Novels
Captain Paiute: Indigenous Defender of the Southwest by Theo Tso (Las Vegas Paiute Tribe)
(War Paint Studios, 2015, Tacoma, WA)
The Recommended Reading List also includes the five books from the National Reading List and Discussion Guide that First Nations sent out in October. The full list of all 30 books is available at this link (PDF): http://www.firstnations.org/sites/default/files
First Nations advocates to improve Native American economies and communities, and believes that it has a responsibility to educate others by sharing authentic resources to learn more about Native histories, cultures and peoples.
For 36 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit http://www.firstnations.org.