Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Poetry

Joy Harjo stands in the middle of a marble hall, with a large turquoise bracelet and red lipstick, smiling at the camera.
"Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo, June 6, 2019. Harjo is the first Native American to serve as poet laureate and is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress." - Wikimedia Commons

November is National Native American Heritage Month, a month to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the people who are the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the land now called the United States. You can learn more about the history of National Native American Heritage Month from the Library of Congress here.

Celebrated in this blog post are the words and accomplishments of Native American, American Indian, and Indigenous poets. Look below for a list of some poetry recommendations. Though as the November weather gets colder it's the perfect time to curl up with these vibrant works, the best way to enjoy the words of these poets is all year round!

Spotlight on Indigenous Poets

List created by MagicalLibraryCreature

These books of poetry (both anthologies and single-author works) may all be #OwnVoices, but the Native American and Indigenous poets behind these poems come from many different tribal affiliations and life experiences. Something they all have in common? They are amazing poets. Books have been included in downloadable format when possible.

Ai, who is Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche, writes unflinching poetry in the form of dramatic monologues.

Abigail Chabitnoy, of Aleut decent, uses poetry to address the disruption done by the US Indian Boarding School Policy.

Natalie Diaz (Mojave) fights the erasure of Native American people with her latest volume of poetry.

Natalie Diaz, a queer, Latinx and Mojave American poet and enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe, has created a visceral reading experience in these poems that push and pull against mythology.

Ojibwe writer Heid E. Erdrich uses poetry to explore the effect that sustained abuse has on people, especially women, children, and Native and Indigenous people.

View Full List

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Santa Clara County Library District