In addition to writers, Frank Waln and Tanaya Winder are also talented singer-songwriters. Waln is an accomplished hip-hop artist and producer. Winder is a multitalented spoken word poet, musician, and storyteller. The pair visited the AWM in May 2019 to perform their work and discuss their creative processes.
Native American Heritage Month Resources
NatiVE American Heritage Month
Celebrate and honor the vast contributions of Native American writers, the indigenous authors of this land who were telling their stories long before the idea of the United States of America was even close to being conceived.
November is Native American Heritage Month and we’re celebrating by reading and listening to the stories and truths of indigenous writers, both past and present. We rounded up some past programs, podcasts, and blogs from the AWM online archives for you to explore. Explore the Native American Heritage Month reading recommendations, podcasts, and more below.
Two new podcasts to listen to!
- U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo chats with Marie Arana about her work, oral storytelling, and the importance of representation in literature.
- Pulitzer Prize-winner David Maraniss discusses his recent biography Path Lit By Lightning, about iconic American athlete Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal competing for the U.S.
Explore more than 400 years of American writing and history in our virtual exhibit American Voices. Learn about writers like Sophia Alice Callahan, the first known Native American to publish a novel. And William Apess, whose 1829 novel A Son of the Forest describes his journey to reclaim his Pequot identity after being forced to be a servant for white families. And Vine Victor Deloria, Jr., who employed humor in his writings and activism. Plus many more writers to learn about!
Here are some highlights from the AWM blog through the years written by or about indigenous writers, including author interviews, writing tips, reading recommendations, and more.
- Poet Tanaya Winder (intertribal lineage of Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Diné, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations) gives essential writing advice.
- Read a Q&A with rapper Frank Waln (Sicangu Lakota) about his influences, process and more.
- Professor Ben Railton explains why we should all read Zitkála-Šá to understand our history better.
On the AWM Podcast Network we have multiple episodes for your listening pleasure. Find them at the links below or listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
- Learn more about Sequoyah, who survived the Trail of Tears and went on to develop the written form of the Cherokee language.
- David Treuer (Ojibwe) discusses his book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, a finalist for the National Book Award.
- Hear Native poets Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota), Mark Turcotte (Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe), and Tanaya Winder (see above) read and discuss their poetry.
Looking for some reading recommendations for books by indigenous authors?
Tanaya Winder has you covered, read them here.