Books Focused on Indigenous Activism

This season's One Book, One Chicago selection is There There by Tommy Orange. We have many blog posts and staff lists featuring books by Indigenous voices, and I want to focus on one topic specifically: Indigenous activism. Indigenous activism encompasses many topics from land claims to self-government to climate change. Below are a handful of books that dive deeper into these topics.

Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch'orti'), a previous Voices for Justice speaker, is an Indigenous scholar and environmental scientist, among other things. Her book Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science delves into the lack of Indigenous voices in environmental studies, conservation and national parks and preservation. Hernandez focuses on the work needed to change the lack of representation for the benefit of communities and the planet.

Kyle T. Mays (Saginaw Chippewa), another Voices for Justice speaker, delves into the intersecting history of Indigenous and Black communities in An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States. While not a book specifically focused on activism, the history and information presented in this book provides a more complex perspective on colonization and U.S. history.

In Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, author Nick Estes (citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) looks at the history of Indigenous resistance prior and leading to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Estes intertwines his own family history and experience growing up in the Oceti Sakowin (the Nation of the Seven Council Fires) with the history of activism and resistance.

Read about historical and modern Indigenous activism in As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. This well-researched work by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (member of Alderville First Nation) covers the perspective of resisting the colonizing system and mindset instead of fighting for inclusion.

These are only a few works focused on this topic. Do you have any favorite reads about Indigenous activism, history or resistance? Let us know in the comments.