CDPL Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month. Do you know that our community lives and works on lands once occupied by several indigenous tribes? At CDPL we are preparing a book display that honors the Wea, Miami, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Wyandot, Ho-Chunk, and Delaware – peoples who have called the Midwest region their home. The display will be available on November 1st through the 30th.

Native Americans’ traditions have survived despite centuries of rejection, separation, re-education, and oppression. Most people do not realize that indigenous cultures are present in our lives in the way we prepare food, in the style of clothes we wear, and even in our town names. Learning more about Native Americans’ culture and history could help fill in gaps in your own family’s history.

Native Americans have a long history of being inaccurately portrayed in books, songs, and movies. Expand your knowledge by viewing one of these interesting documentaries with your family during your next holiday gathering. PBS illuminates the story of “Native America” (DVD 970.004 Nat) with cutting-edge science and traditional indigenous knowledge. You can learn about traditional medicines, ancient healthcare, and healing methods from a native perspective in the Octapixx film, “Native American Healing & Spirituality Collection” (DVD 305.897 Nat).

Gain a greater understanding of Native culture by reading about their heroes and heroines in Adrienne Keene’s informative and colorful book, “Notable Native People” (920.0092 Kee). Alison Owings gives you an intimate view of Native traditions, rituals, and contemporary perspectives of daily life in “Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans” (970 Owi). Take a historical walk through the field and unearth the knowledge of Native crops in “Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation” (650.8997 Nab) by Gary Paul Nabhan.

Hear the poetic words of indigenous writers in “Living Nations, Living Words” (811.008 Liv) or the Norton Anthology “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through” (811.008 Whe), both complied by the U.S.’s 23rd Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. If you are having trouble understanding terminology in these writings, consider checking out the dictionary-style publication, “Word Dance: The Language of Native American Culture” (970.004 Wal) written by Carl Waldman and illustrated by Molly Braun.

Learn about the open secret that decimated generations of indigenous peoples for over five centuries in Andres Resendez’s “The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America” (306.3 Res). Comprehend the true effects of the Native American genocide, the modern repercussions of assimilation, and the never-ending struggle for sovereignty through David Treuer’s powerful journey in “Rez Life” (323.1197 Tre). Explore the complex battle of ‘place’ and ownership rights in Jacqueline Keeler’s “Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy movement, and the American story of sacred lands” (323.1197 Kee).

If you are interested in learning more about Native Peoples, consider visiting our state’s official page for Native Affairs at, or the Miami Nation of Indiana’s website at

Stop by the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor for assistance with finding these books or others. Take a moment to appreciate our diverse collection of reading materials. If you are interested in acquiring a CDPL library card, searching our catalog in advance, or learning about local history, please visit our website at or call us at 765-362-2242. CDPL is open Monday-Thursday 9a-9p, Friday-Saturday 9a-5p, and Sunday 1-5p.

Toni Ridgway-Woodall is a Library Assistant in the Reference and Local History department at CDPL.