New releases include memoirs and works of investigative reporting—in some cases, both in one book—as well as fiction tinted with fantasy and horror.
Birding While Indian
English and ethnic studies professor Gannon, who is part Lakota and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, ties colonialism to ecosystem destruction and the erasure of Indigenous cultural identity. Chronicling decades of outdoor walks and observations as a lifelong birder and inhabitant of the Great Plains, the author reflects on how nature helped nurture his sense of self.
“Jade Daniels and her encyclopedic knowledge of slasher films return for another blood-soaked romp in Jones’s superb sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw,” per PW’s starred review. The author “blends snappy graveyard humor with nail-biting suspense, and he gives his characters distinctive personalities that distinguish them from the underdeveloped body fodder common to most slasher scenarios.”
Pioneering video game designer Romero (Doom, Quake, and many more) recounts how the poverty and violence he experienced in childhood propelled his escape to the gaming world, from his early days as a computer programmer to his success as a game developer. He also discusses his Cherokee, Yaqui, and Mexican heritage and his work to help those from marginalized communities get into game design.
Kinauvit? What’s Your Name?
In the course of Dunning’s efforts to legally register as an Inuk, she came face to face with the legacy of the dehumanizing Eskimo Identification Tag System, in use in Canada from the 1940s to the 1970s. Using interviews and other research, Dunning, whose short fiction collection Tainna won a 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award, compiles a record of the little-known system’s damaging effects on her people.
Curtice (Native), an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, sees resistance as an act of compassion and a path to spiritual and emotional wholeness that anyone, not just professional activists, can pursue. She illuminates four “realms of resistance”—personal, communal, ancestral, and integral—connecting each to everyday practices including art-making, childcare, and prayer.
In 2012, social documentarian Wilbur, from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, set out to visit with and photograph people from each of the then 562 federally recognized Native American tribal nations (there are 574 today). One decade, 50 states, and 600,000 miles later, her profiles paint a diverse portrait of the people she met, from those in Seminole country (known as the Everglades) to Inuit territory (at the Bering Sea).
Survival lies at the heart of the Kwantlen poet’s work, amid themes of trauma, grief, forgiveness, Indigenous folklore, and love. Dandurand’s previous collection, The East Side of It All, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and in 2021 he received the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
The Rediscovery of America
Yale University history and American studies professor Blackhawk, a member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, contends that the power, resilience, and self-determination of Native Americans are crucial to understanding how America developed over the past five centuries.
The first poetry collection from LaPointe, an artist from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribe and the author of the 2022 memoir Red Paint, draws on folklore, history, personal experience, and pop culture. LaPointe names the book’s four sections for stones paired with tarot cards, such as “Opal/Eight of Swords.”
Searching for Savanna
In 2017, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, 22 years old and eight months pregnant, disappeared in Fargo, N.Dak. Days later, police found her baby alive and with the white couple upstairs; LaFontaine-Greywind’s murdered body was discovered days after that. Gable, whose grandmother was a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, Outside, and elsewhere, reassembles Savanna’s story to amplify the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Sisters of the Lost Nation
A member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Medina draws on various Native traditions for this debut supernatural thriller, in which a high school outcast named Anna seeks to uncover the truth about a rash of disappearances, including that of her little sister.
In Sámi journalist and novelist Laestadius’s English debut, “the fragile peace of a Sámi tribal community in Arctic Lappland is shattered when a poacher begins to prey on their sacred reindeer herd,” per PW’s review. “The sense of place and character development make for an affecting portrait of the Sámi’s disenfranchisement. It’s a solid story of a family torn apart by cultural tensions.”
Swim Home to the Vanished
One of the authors highlighted in PW’s spring 2023 “Writers to Watch” feature, Basham debuts with a magical realist novel in which a young Diné man named Damien heads south from the Pacific Northwest after his younger brother disappears. What he discovers is a Lovecraftian village presided over by a formidable family, where a once plentiful supply of fish has dried up.
Myers recounts stories of her family and her people, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Beginning with her great-grandmother, the last full-blooded Native member in her family line, Myers constructs what she calls an “imagined totem pole” of four generations of women, using tribal folktales and history to honor and reclaim her heritage.
To Shape a Dragon’s Breath
In this series launch, Anequs, an Indigenous teen, finds the first dragon egg seen in her community in generations. According to the Anglish who conquered her people’s land, Anequs must enroll in an approved dragon academy and raise the hatchling by its standards, or the creature will be killed. Debut novelist Blackgoose, a member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe and lineal descendant of Ousamequin Massasoit, interrogates colonialism through her fantasy lens.
Gitxsan investigative journalist Sterritt was kicked out of her family home as a teen; keeping a journal helped her keep her sense of self on the streets. Her debut, which combines memoir and reportage, shares the stories of Indigenous women who didn’t survive and acts as testament to both their societal vulnerability and their collective strength and joy.