Category Archives: Indian Authors

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s New Film: “Carry It On”

“A new documentary celebrating the unparalleled life of Buffy Sainte-Marie kicked off the Toronto International Film Festival Thursday, with her dynamic life of music and light keeping the audience enraptured by her story, personality, wisdom and joy.” M. Morrisseau, ICT (formerly: Indian Country Today) Sept. 9, 2022

Excerpt: Buffy Sainte-Marie kicks off Toronto festival with ‘Carry It On’ Miles Morrisseau,  ICT, Sept. 9, 2022

“The film, ‘Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On,’ played its world premiere to a packed house at the Bell Lightbox Theatre on the opening day of the international film festival.

At the screening, the 81-year-old Cree legend told the audience she always wants to lift people up with her music, even after facing hard truths.

Legendary Cree musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, left, was greeted by iconic filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin after the premiere screening of a new documentary, “Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On.” They are shown with the film’s director, Madison Thomson, Ojibwe/Saulteaux and Russian/Ukrainian. (Photo by Miles Morrisseau/ICT)

‘Some of my songs, like ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ or ‘Now that The Buffalo is Gone,’ they are painful,” she said. ‘They’re painful for both what happened to us and the people who are descendants of the people who did these things in the world. And when I sing a song like that, I always follow it with something super positive. ‘ I really believe that music can really hurt you, but it can also really be healing and medicinal,’ she said. ‘And so I’m always very careful to follow one of those hard-hitting songs with something like ‘Starwalker’ or ‘Carry It On,’ or ‘You Got to Run.’

Anger wells up inside as she talks about being abused as a child, being blacklisted from American radio because of pressure from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and losing the publishing royalties to her song, “Universal Soldier” as a young artist… Yet the hurt is balanced by her inimitable spirit and undeniable success on her own terms.”

For More Information for Buffy Sainte-Marie Film “Carry It On”

From Cartoonist Ricardo Caté : Wash Your Hands!

“New Mexico has a colorful way of spreading a strong message. The state’s Indian Affairs and Human Services departments have partnered with cartoonist Ricardo Caté to create a COVID-19 coloring book for tribal youth. Caté’s cartoon ‘Without Reservations’is published daily in the Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News.” P. Talahongva, ICT

Santo Domingo Pueblo artist Ricardo Caté’s thought-provoking cartoons remind us there is always a different point of view.


Excerpt: Indian Country Today newscast for Thursday August 27th, 2020 Without reservations: Wash your hands By Patty Talahongva, ICT

Cartoon Book by Ricardo Cate

“He’s [Ricardo Caté] on the newscast today to discuss the coloring book with Lynn Trujillo, the Indian Affairs Department Cabinet Secretary.”

A few comments:

Ricardo Cate:

“I started with the lockdown and as the whole pandemic progressed, whatever was on the news, I started drawing on a day to day basis.”

Lynn Trujillo:

“As we all know, unfortunately, many of our Native American Alaska Native relatives continue to be disproportionately impacted and really suffered from high prevalence and mortality rates. Luckily here in New Mexico, the latest statewide data shows that, 32.9 percent of positive cases here in New Mexico are Native American and Alaska native. We seen a flattening of that curve, which I think has been phenomenal… And what is the goal of this coloring book?

Cartoon by Ricardo Caté

Ricardo Cate:

“…I come up with these ideas and like I said, I’ve already been drawing them. And so from not only a parent or a community member standpoint but from a teacher standpoint. I’m also a teacher and I work a lot with kids. In fact, I had been passing out art supplies in our community the same week that they had asked me. So when this fell into my lap, so to speak, it was a very opportune time for that to happen because I was thinking of kids at the time and wondering how I could help them a little more and this coloring book seemed to be right up that alley. So it was a very opportune time…I’m glad this coloring book turned out really nice. And hopefully it makes a huge impact on what we’re trying to do here to educate everyone. Yeah one time I had a (dance) partner and she was (staying) six feet away but it just turned out that she didn’t like me.”

Credit: Ricardo Caté, ICT

Lynn Trujillo:

“The coloring book is available on our website. We’re also really excited because we’ve been approached by a foundation to pay for another reprinting that we would really like to get out to our urban Indian centers and different organizations. The first round of books went out to the sovereign nations here in New Mexico that we would really love to get those out to our centers and communities. Ricardo can talk to you about what ‘stoodis’ means. I think we also want to make sure that there’s an opportunity for everyone not only little ones, but everyone to draw their own cartoon and to share it and use the hashtag. We love to share people’s cartoons and their artwork.”


The 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at the close of the Democratic National Convention Thursday night. [8/20] Photo: Olivier Douliery

On Thursday night, [8/20] he was introduced by a video that referenced the loss of his first wife and daughter early in his Senate career and, years later, of his son Beau to brain cancer. “I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes…your loved one may have left this earth, but they’ll never leave your heart. They’ll always be with you. You’ll always hear them.”

Vice President Biden with his son Beau at Camp Victory on the Baghdad outskirts in 2009.Credit…Pool photo by Khalid Mohammed

As president, the first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that’s ruined so many lives… Because I understand something this president doesn’t. We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back until we deal with this virus.”

Brayden Harrington, 13, spoke about how former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. helped him overcome his stutter in a speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

“As God’s children, each of us has a purpose in our lives… And we have a great purpose as a nation: to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans; to save our democracy; to be a light to the world once again; to finally live up to and make real the words written in the sacred documents that founded this nation that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Biden and Harris For The American People!

“I will have a great vice president at my side, Senator Kamala Harris,” Biden reminded his listeners. “She is a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story. She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many in our country: women, Black women, Black Americans, South Asian Americans, immigrants, the left out and left behind. But she’s overcome every obstacle she’s ever faced. No one’s been tougher on the big banks or the gun lobby. No one’s been tougher in calling out this current administration for its extremism, its failure to follow the law, and its failure to simply tell the truth.” 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

~Democratic Vice-Presidential Leader Kamala Harris~

From Indian Country Today (ICT):

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Native Sci-Fi Author Releases 2nd Best Seller

O’siyo. Cherokee writer Daniel H. Wilson’s new sci-fi novel Robogenesis came out this past June, and has already made the New York Times best seller list.  Stephen Spielberg is creating a movie based on his first novel  Robopocalypse.  At this point, when it comes to Native sci-fi writers Wilson is  perceived as being in “a league of his own.”

Discussion Questions for this post

Second novel Robogenesis By Daniel H. Wilson.

Second novel Robogenesis By Daniel H. Wilson.

Excerpt: The New Frontier for Native Literature by R Winn Tribal CollegeJournal

Its name is Archos and if you’ve read Cherokee writer Daniel H. Wilson’s 2011 novel Robopocalypse, you’ve likely reconsidered the virtues of technology. Archos is a supercomputer that turns a not-too-distant world’s proliferation of docile robots into an onslaught of killing machines. Governments are wiped out, millions perish, and urban areas are helpless to stop the robots’ “New War.” Humankind’s best hope for survival is an off-the-grid Osage stronghold where humans resisting the assault find sanctuary. The book is a terrifying, engrossing thriller written by a man with a Ph.D. in robotics and a gift for creating rich characters with distinct voices.

Novel Robopocalypse By Daniel H. Wilson.

Novel Robopocalypse By Daniel H. Wilson.

It is a New York Times bestseller that Stephen King called “terrific page-turning fun,” and Stephen Spielberg is creating a movie based on the novel. Robopocalypse’s sequel, Robogenesis, hit the shelves in June, and the two books—along with his 2012 standalone novel, Amped—have proven Wilson to be the leading voice in the proliferation of Indigenous science fiction writers… 

The book[Robogenesis] begins in the seconds following Robopocalypse’s conclusion, as the survivors from the first novel soon learn that the New War is far from over. Like its predecessor, this novel is told from multiple points of view and the characters we loved in the first book are back—Cormac Wallace, a reluctant leader and chronicler of the human resistance; Mathilda Perez, a teenager whose eyes were replaced with a technological upgrade; and Lark Iron Cloud, a jilted Cherokee youth who heroically led the Osage resistance.

Wilson’s knowledge and expert descriptions of robotics are matched by his talent for capturing both the grit of the conflict and the veracity of humankind’s desire to survive with their humanity in check. We’re living in a time that’s witnessing a range of American Indian voices unlike any other in history. These artists are challenging, and thereby changing, the boundaries of what constitutes a Native text and nowhere is that more prevalent than in the world of science fiction.” Read more.

“We’re living in a time that’s witnessing a range of American Indian voices unlike any other in history. These artists are challenging, and thereby changing, the boundaries of what constitutes a Native text and nowhere is that more prevalent than in the world of science fiction.” ~Ryan Winn~ Tribal College Journal

Discussion Questions for this post
  1. Daniel H. Wilson has a  Ph.D in which field of study?
  2. According to the article how many books has Wilson written?
  3. Name some of the other Native authors mentioned in the article.
  4. Which  American sci-fi film was dubbed in Navajo?
  5. The article states, “ American Indian audiences are unified behind mainstream media that depicts their individual cultures in a positive light.” Explain this statement using your own words.


Category: Indian Authors

Native Book Awards for Young Adults

O’siyo. In the past we’ve posted about children’s literature. Now it’s time to review Native books in the young adult category. Here are some great reads selected for The American Indian Youth Literature Awards for 2014.AILA logo.

Excerpt: Sci-Fi, Mysticism and Tragedy Indian Youth Literature Awards…ICTMN

“Mysticism, science fiction and tragedy mark the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards from the American Indian Library Association, with Tomson Highway, Joseph Bruchac and Tim Tingle all winning honors this year.  The American Indian Youth Literature Awards, presented every other year, seek “to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians,” the library association said in a media release. “Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.”

Award medallion Seal designed by Corwin Clairmont (Salish) Beaded by Linda King (Salish). Flickr- htomren.

The beautiful Award medallion Seal designed by Corwin Clairmont (Salish) Beaded by Linda King (Salish). Flickr- htomren.


Caribou Song by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough.

Caribou Song by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough.

Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon, written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough (Fifth House, 2012) won for best picture book;
“Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering caribou, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances. They are so involved with their dancing and music that they don’t hear the roaring of the approaching herd of caribou. Bursting upon the boys, ten thousand animals fill the meadow. Joe is surrounded and can barely see Cody a short distance away. And neither of the boys can see their parents. And yet what should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit.”

How I Became a Ghost- A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle.

How I Became a Ghost- A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle.

Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
(The Roadrunner Press, 2013) won in the Middle School category, and Bruchac’s graphic novel Killer of Enemies (Tu Books, 2013) received the Young Adult award.
“How I Became a Ghost is a tragic tale that gives life to Choctaw walking the Trail of Tears, and then takes it away. Its protagonist is Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the long walk.”


Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner, also by Tingle (7th Generation, 2013) was noted in the Middle School category.

“Danny Blackgoat is a teenager in Navajo country when soldiers burn down his home, kill his sheep and capture his family. During the Long Walk of 1864, Danny is labeled a troublemaker and given the name Fire Eye. Refusing to accept captivity, he is sent to Fort Davis, Texas, a Civil War prisoner outpost. There he battles bullying fellow prisoners, rattlesnakes and abusive soldiers until he meets Jim Davis. Jim teaches Danny how to hold his anger and starts him on the road to literacy. In a stunning climax, Jim–who builds coffins for the dead–aids Danny in a daring and dangerous escape. Set in troubled times, “Danny Blackgoat” is the story of one boy’s hunger to be free “and” be Navajo.” Goodreads.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levin Books, 2013), was highlighted in the Young Adult category.

“Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?” Goodreads.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchao.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

“Killer of Enemies is a graphic sci-fi novel set in a future in which technology has stopped working, plunging the world back into a new steam age. A 17-year-old girl, Lozen, finds herself a hero.”

Kudos to the gifted writers, the American Indian Library Association, and to all of the wonderful people who support and encourage  reading.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles William Eliot~


Category: Indian Authors

Holidays: Teaching Native Children…Truth

O’siyo. The hoilday season is here and now is the time to highlight a great Native book for children that discusses the true meaning of the “first Thanksgiving”. The People Shall Continue, by author Simon Ortiz, a member of the Acquemeh (Acoma) Pueblo is just the book. Ortiz’s  wonderful story begins with, “the moment that all things came to be, when the People were born.”  

The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

Arthur Simon Ortiz. Photo- Ortiz Lectures-ASU.

Arthur Simon Ortiz. Photo- Ortiz Lectures-ASU.

Excerpt:  Beyond the So-Called First Thanksgiving…By Debbie Reese, ICTMN

“…Your local bookstore probably has a special shelf this month filled with books about “The First Thanksgiving.” In most of them, Native peoples are stereotyped, and “Indian” instead of “Wampanoag” is used to identify the indigenous people. When the man known as Squanto is part of the stories, his value to the Pilgrims is that he can speak English, and he teaches them how to plant and hunt. The fact that he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Spain—if mentioned at all—is not addressed in the story because elaborating on it would up-end the feel-good story.

There are a multitude of works by Native writers who tell stories from their experience and history. While Thanksgiving is a good time to grab people’s attention about Wampanoag-European interactions, it does not need to frame the story. These books give a far more nuanced, and accurate, account of Indigenous Peoples. They will set children and adults alike straight on what really happened around the time of the so-called First Thanksgiving, and what Native life is like today.

The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz (Children’s Book Press, 1977) The starting point for this picture-book poem, illustrated by Sharol Graves, is not 1492, nor is it 1621. The story begins the moment that “all things came to be,” when “the People were born.” This provides an immediate departure from the typical re-telling of creation stories by non-Native writers, who tend to cast our stories in a romantic and mystical realm.

Right off the bat, Ortiz tells us that the People differ in how they came to be:

Excerpt: The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

Excerpt: The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

[ What their special jobs were]:

Excerpt: The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

Excerpt: The People Shall Continue, by Simon Ortiz. Amazon.

As the poem progresses, the People start talking about strangers who seek treasure, slaves and land. Across the continent, the People fight to protect themselves:

In the West, Pope called warriors from the Pueblo and Apache Nations.
In the East, Tecumseh gathered the Shawnee and the Nations of the Great Lakes, the Appalachians, and the Ohio Valley to fight for their people.” Read more…

Kudos to Simon Ortiz for his wonderful stories and inspiration! To parents, teachers, and others, who continue to teach children the important values in life.

“We must ensure that life continues.
We must be responsible to that life.
With that humanity and the strength
Which comes from our shared responsibility
For this life, the People shall continue.”

~ Simon Ortiz~from his book, The People Shall Continue.

For Younger Children:

Naturally, Simon Ortiz’s  story is for older children. We want to begin teaching the younger ones things they should be “thankful” for (e.g., mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, good food, etc.). Here are some fun ideas for  preschool, kindergarten and elementary learners from the Enchanted Learning website.  The materials for these projects can be found around the house, like egg cartons, cardboard, paper, boxes, string, crayons, etc. Click on the images to get instructions on how to make the projects.

Thankful Tree by Enchanted Learning.

Thankful Tree by Enchanted Learning.

Pine Cone Turkey by Enchanted Learning.

Pine Cone Turkey by Enchanted Learning.

Thankful Turkey by Enchanted Learning.

Thankful Turkey by Enchanted Learning.

Native Artist Geri Keams with students from Eagle Nest Int. School, Tuba City Az.

Native Artist Geri Keams with students from Eagle Nest Int. School, Tuba City Az.

Wishing Everyone A Day of Thankfulness!


Native Author Sherman Alexie…Still Our Hero!

O’siyo. Famous Native author Sherman Alexie is a member of the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene people. In addition to being a writer (he’s written 22 books) Alexie is also a poet and filmmaker. His newest books are Blasphemy, a collection of short stories and What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, a book of poems. Nearly all of his books draw on his experiences growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The following is an excerpt of an interview by the New York Times of the prolific writer who reveals an interesting side of his personality.

Sherman Alexie. Photo- TBTL

Sherman Alexie. Photo-TBTL

Excerpt: Sherman Alexie: By the Book, New York Times

 NYT: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

SA: Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” It’s an examination of one cult religion but can also be read as a primer on the basic cultlike nature of all religions.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Amazon.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie. Amazon.

  NYT: Who are your favorite novelists?

SA: My favorite novelists and short-story writers are Louise Erdrich, Michael Connelly, Lorrie Moore, James Welch, Toni Morrison, Dennis Lehane, Kelly Link, David Markson, Mo Hayder, Ralph Ellison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Aimee Bender, Jim Carroll and Colin Harrison.

War Dances by Sherman Alexie. Amazon.

War Dances by Sherman Alexie. Amazon.

NYT: And your favorite poets?

SA: James Wright, Erica Dawson, Emily Dickinson, C. K. Williams, Ai, Adrian C. Louis, Catherine Pierce, James Welch and A. E. Stallings.

 NYT: Any new books by Native American authors you would recommend? And your all-time favorite literary works by Native Americans? 

SA: Stephen Graham Jones, a Blackfeet Indian, has written tons of sci-fi, horror, crime and experimental fiction. He’s not new but should certainly be read by many more people. My favorite work of Native American literature is “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko.

 NYT: What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?

SA: I tend to read books that feature crime, criminals and justice. I stay clear of any book with “Native American spirituality” in the description.

 NYT: What book has had the greatest impact on you? 

SA: “Fire Water World: Poems,” by Adrian C. Louis. It’s the best example of free-verse Reservation Noir ever. And remains one of my guideposts.

 NYT: Do you have a favorite childhood literary character or hero? 

SA: Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. A blind and very mortal superhero. I pretended he was part Indian.

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. Amazon.

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. Amazon.

 NYT: If you could meet any character from literature, who would it be? 

SA: Bill Denbrough from Stephen King’s “It.” A brave man who was braver as a boy. And a stutterer like me.”

“Everyone I have lost 

in the closing of a door

the click of the lock

is not forgotten, they

do not die but remain

within the soft edges

of the earth, the ash

of house fires and cancer

in sin and forgiveness

huddled under old blankets

dreaming their way into

my hands, my heart

closing tight like fists.

– “Indian Boy Love Song #1” 

~Sherman Alexie~ The Business of Fancy Dancing

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Amazon

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Amazon

“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.”  

“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.” 

“When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.”

“If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.” 

~Sherman Alexie~The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian-GoodReads.

“Kindness takes you everywhere. It’s the best part of human evolution; when we aren’t kind, we’re regressing back to our primitive roots.”

~Sherman Alexie~ Interview Parent Map, 2012.

Kudos to Sherman Alexie for continuing to be a great role-model for young people.

A special “Wado” to Professor G.R. of Brandeis University for sending us email about this article. Much Appreciation.

Veterans Day 2013. Wado. Photo ICTMN

Veterans Day 2013. Wado. Photo ICTMN

The Code Talkers.  Ahe’hee’. Photo-Navajocodetalkers.

The Code Talkers.  Ahe’hee’. Photo-Navajocodetalkers.


Category: Indian Authors