Photos: Native Writers & Illustrators

Just about every book a kid picks up has white people in it. And, just about every book is written and illustrated by a white author or illustrator. For literally hundreds of years, white kids have seen themselves reflected in the books they read, and they've had the chance to see people who look like them as writers and illustrators of those books. By default, they've been able to see a reflection of themselves, or, a possible self (someone they could be). By default, they could imagine themselves as the writer or illustrator of that book. They may not have been aware of any of that, but it was there. It is the norm. The default. Seeing themselves in books is like the air they breathe. It is there. Every day.

I want that for Native kids. I want them to see books written and illustrated by people who look like them. I want them to be able to think "Hmmm... I could be a writer, too, just like Cynthia Leitich Smith!" or "Hey! I could be an illustrator, too, just like Shonto Begay!"

I understand that white authors and illustrators 
may feel threatened by my 
advocacy of Native writers and illustrators, 
but that advocacy is for Native children who 
deserve the same affirmations white kids get all the time. 

It is also important that kids who aren't Native see books written and illustrated by Native people. Why? Because there are far too many people who think we no longer exist. There are far too many people that think we were primitive people who grunted and ran around half naked. We were--and are--much more than that!

When reading or booktalking a book written by or illustrated by a Native person, the parent/teacher/librarian can say "Eric Gansworth is Onondaga." That two-letter word, IS, is a powerful one and communicates a great deal to kids. That parent/teacher/librarian can then say "The office for the Onondaga Nation is in New York." And that parent or teacher or librarian can say, "let's talk about sovereignty of tribal nations!"

This photo gallery is a tribute to Native writers and illustrators of books I've recommended on AICL. They are in no particular order. Over time, I'll keep adding to this gallery. I welcome you to write to me to let me know to add someone I've missed. Each person's tribal nation is beneath their name. If there are errors, I apologize, and please let me know.


American Indians in Children's Literature
is pleased to present 
A Gallery of Native Writers and Illustrators

Cynthia Leitich Smith
Muscogee Creek
Image source: Cynsations
http://goo.gl/0wneBW

Michael Lacapa
Apache, Hopi
Image source: Northern Arizona Book Festival
http://goo.gl/4POyCQ

Louise Erdrich
Turtle Mountain Chippewa
Image source: Cleveland.com
http://goo.gl/bXzSwn



Eric Gansworth
Onondaga
Image source: Milkweed
http://goo.gl/6FqBTB

Nicola I. Campbell
Nlel7kepmx, Nsilx and Metis
Image source: The Word on the Street
http://goo.gl/l284Ko


Tim Tingle
Choctaw
Image source: My Very Own Book
http://goo.gl/4KRgwp

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Lakota Sioux
Image source: Native Daughters
http://goo.gl/1mCbDU


Richard Van Camp
Dogrib
Image Source: Zimbio
http://goo.gl/Zg8TNR


Arigon Starr
Kickapoo
Image source: Starrwatcher Online
http://goo.gl/hyLzhc

S.D. Nelson
Standing Rock Sioux

Beverly Blacksheep
Navajo

Sherman Alexie
Spokane/Coeur d'Alene

Lee DeCora Francis, and her boys
Penobscot 

Simon Ortiz
Acoma

Dovie Thomason
Kiowa Apache
Image Source: University of Missouri St. Louis
http://blogs.umsl.edu/news/files/2012/04/thomason_dovie_400_266.jpg



Joseph Bruchac
Abenaki

Cheryl Savageau
Abenaki

Donald Uluadluak
Inuit

Jan Bourdeau Waboose
Nishnawbe Ojibwe

Daniel Wilson
Cherokee


Joy Harjo
Mvskoke

Shonto Begay
Navajo

Cheryl Minnema
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Wesley Ballinger
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Luci Tapahonso
Navajo


Greg Rodgers
Choctaw

Marcie Rendon
White Earth Anishinabe

Art Coulson
Cherokee

Ofelia Zepeda
Tohono O'Odham

N. Scott Momaday
Kiowa

Laura Tohe
Navajo

Allan Sockabasin
Passamaquoddy 

Julie Flett
Metis


Richard Wagamese
Wabasseemoong Ojibway

Leslie Marmon Silko
Laguna


Heid E. Erdrich
Turtle Mountain Chippewa

Deborah Miranda
Esselen


John Rombough
Chipewyan Dene




James Welch
Blackfeet/Gros Ventre


Tomson Highway
Cree


George Littlechild
Plains Cree


Roy Boney
Cherokee
Image source: http://goo.gl/KTa8HF 

Lisa Charleyboy
Tsilhqot'in - Raven Clan
Image source: http://www.lisacharleyboy.com/

Jim Yellowhawk
Cheyenne River Sioux
Image source: http://www.indianz.com/News/2015/017667.asp

Carole Lindstrom
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Image source: personal email

Jennifer Denetdale
Navajo
Image source: http://nmcmedia.org/video-gallery/thumbs/kuat1_360.jpg

Jenny Kay Dupuis
Nippissing First Nation
Image source: http://jennykaydupuis.com/about/ 

Theo Tso
Paiute
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/teddy.tso.9

Erika Wurth
Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee
Image source: http://goo.gl/QtdKbW


Jeannie Barbour
Chickasaw Nation
Image source: https://www.chickasaw.tv/profiles-of-a-nation/list/jeannie-barbour

Glenda Galvan
Chickasaw Nation
 Image source: https://www.chickasawpress.com/Authors/Glenda-Galvan.aspx

Daniel Heath Justice
Cherokee Nation
Image source: https://uofmpress.ca/blog/entry/excerpt-from-masculindians-daniel-heath-justice


1 comment:

Rachel Brown said...

Writers and illustrators for children definitely don't feel threatened by advocacy for Native readers. It's wonderful! Writers, illustrators, librarians, everyone wants more diverse voices in children's literature. But no matter who writes them, a very, very small percentage of books written and illustrated actually get published by traditional publishers (although traditional publishers have been asking for more diverse submissions recently).