Resources to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and its intersection with public health

Guests of the Great River by Chinook Indian Nation Chairman and artist Tony A. (naschio) Johnson and artist Adam McIsaac for the Burke Museum.


November is Native American Heritage Month, which celebrate the traditions, languages and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and affiliated Island communities. In honor of this month, the University of Washington School of Public Health faculty and staff recommended readings, podcasts, film and events at the intersection of Native American heritage and public health. These resources include those created by people at the UW and across the country.


Nonfiction and fiction books and poetry 

Braiding Sweetgrass 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer 

Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings ― asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass ― offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. 

The River That Made Seattle: a human and natural history of the Duwamish  

By BJ Cummings 

The Duwamish River has been subject to two centuries of competing claims by Native tribes, early settlers, industrial pioneers and waves of immigrant communities. Today, the Duwamish River is polluted, but plans for cleanup and revitalization are underway, led by a new generation of pioneers who reimagine the Duwamish as "a river for all."  

Seattle from the Margins: Exclusion, Erasure, and the Making of a Pacific Coast City  

By Megan Asaka 

Between the mid-nineteenth century and World War II, Seattle's urban workforce, mainly Indigenous peoples and Asian migrants, fueled the seasonal, extractive economy. Despite benefiting the city, these workers were consistently portrayed as obstacles to progress, and their historical presence is now scarcely visible in the current urban landscape. 

Herring and People of the North Pacific: Sustaining a Keystone Species 

By Thomas F. Thornton and Madonna L. Moss 

Herring are vital to the productivity and health of marine systems, and socio-ecologically Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) is one of the most important fish species in the Northern Hemisphere. Revealing new findings about current herring stocks as well as the fish's significance to the conservation of intraspecies biodiversity, the book explores the role of traditional local knowledge, in combination with archeological, historical and biological data, in both understanding marine ecology and restoring herring to their former abundance. 

The Beadworkers 

By Beth Piatote 

A collection of poetry and short stories that share Native history and experiences. The Beadworkers draws on Indigenous aesthetics and forms to offer a powerful, sustaining vision of Native life. 

Fresh Banana Leaves 

By Jessica Hernandez 

An Indigenous environmental scientist breaks down why western conservationism isn’t working ― and offers Indigenous models informed by case studies, personal stories and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors. 

Standing with Standing Rock 

Edited by Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon 

Amid the Standing Rock movement to protect the land and the water that millions depend on for life, the Oceti Sakowin (the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota people) reunited. Through poetry and prose, essays, photography, interviews and polemical interventions, the contributors reflect on Indigenous history and politics and on the movement’s significance. Their work challenges our understanding of colonial history not simply as “lessons learned” but as essential guideposts for activism. 

Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report 

By Barbara Rose Johnston & Holly M. Barker 

Anthropologists Barbara Rose Johnston and Holly Barker detail the consequences of the 1954 hydrogen test-bomb Bravo on the Rongelap people. Their work, based on declassified documents and research, contributed to a $1 billion award by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, addressing issues of bioethics, government secrecy, human rights, military testing and academic activism. 

Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula: Who We Are 

Edited by Jacilee Wray  

This book tells the story of nine tribes of Washington's Olympic Peninsula in a series of nine essays written by tribal members. Some of the shared history is also covered. The tribes covered include the Hoh, Skokomish, Squaxin Island, Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallum, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Quinault, Quileute and Makah. 

Fire Keeper's Daughter 

By Angeline Boulley  

This story follows a young Native American woman named Daunis Fontaine who goes undercover to help the FBI find the source of a new lethal drug, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. 

Calling for a Blanket Dance 

By Oscar Hokeah 

A moving and deeply engaging novel about a young Native American man as he learns to find strength in his familial identity. 

The Sentence 

By Louise Erdrich 

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book.  

A Council of Dolls 

By Mona Susan Power 

From the mid-century metropolis of Chicago to the windswept ancestral lands of the Dakota people, to the bleak and brutal Indian boarding schools, A Council of Dolls is the story of three women, told in part through the stories of the dolls they carried. 

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids 

Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith 

A collection of intersecting short stories of kids gathering at an intertribal powwow in Michigan, each told from a different child's point of view. 


News articles 

The Native American population exploded, the census shows. Here's why, Washington Post 

The Supreme Court Made a Surprising Ruling for Native American Rights, The Guardian  

6 Indigenous Climate Activists we’re celebrating, Green is the New Black 


Research / journal articles 

Group Randomized Trial of Healthy Eating and Gardening Intervention in Navajo Elementary Schools (Yéego!) 

Development of an Assessment Tool to Measure Healthy Eating in Navajo Children and Their Families 

Can Community Gardens with Workshops Increase Gardening Behavior? A Navajo Wellness Collaboration 

Engaging School and Family in Navajo Gardening for Health: Development of the Yéego Intervention to Promote Healthy Eating among Navajo Children 

Adapting a cooking, food budgeting and nutrition intervention for a rural community of American Indians with type 2 diabetes in the North-Central United States 

Genomic Research Through an Indigenous Lens: Understanding the Expectations 

Conceptualizing culture in (global) mental health: Lessons from an urban American Indian behavioral health clinic 

An Interview with Dr. Annie Dodge Wauneka, Navajo public health leader and activist  

Honoring Inagofli'e & Alofa: a zine reporting on an Indigenist collaborative research project to understand the health and cultural experiences of queer and transgender Pacific Islanders.  

Tribal Sovereignty and the Indian Health Care System Webinar Series 

This five-part series introduces essential history and information to strengthen your ability to partner with American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) providers/organizations and better serve AIAN people. 

Indigenous Studies: Indigenous Research Methods 

A research guide from the University of Washington Libraries.  

Indigenous Wellness Research Institute National Center of Excellence 

Part of the University of Washington School of Social Work, IWRI’s work is to support the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples to achieve full and complete health and wellness by collaborating in decolonizing research and knowledge building and sharing. 

Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities 

In this open letter, Eve Tuck calls on communities, researchers and educators to institute a moratorium on damage-centered research to reformulate the ways research is framed and conducted and to reimagine how findings might be used by, for, and with communities. 

Oceti Sakowin Writers Society 

Since 1993, the Society has endeavored to strengthen and preserve Dakota, Lakota and Nakota cultures through the development of culture-based writing. 

CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance 

The current open data movement, focused on principles like FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable), falls short in addressing Indigenous peoples' rights and interests. The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance emphasize people and purpose, urging the open data movement to consider both in advocating for data sharing while respecting Indigenous rights and promoting self-determination. 

Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) 

Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in occupations and careers related to genomics and the sciences. To address this problem, we are working with leaders in scientific and Indigenous peoples’ communities to create the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) workshop.  

Swinomish Climate Change Initiative 

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s climate adaptation and action information portal shares progress, commitment and strategic actions in preparing the community for the impacts of climate-related warming and other changes. 

Exterminate All the Brutes / HBO miniseries 

This docuseries delves into the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism, exploring its impact on contemporary society and reframing Native American genocide and American slavery to prompt a reevaluation of how history is written. 

Older Than the Crown (documentary) 

A documentary by Derrick LaMere (Sinixt) that follows a trial regarding land rights that highlights the declaration of extinction of the Sinixt people by the Canadian government. 

Reservation Dogs (Hulu) 

Four indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma steal, rob and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious, and faraway land of California. 

Indigenous Suriname 

This community-directed documentary portrays the challenges faced by interior tribes in Suriname's Amazonia, addressing issues such as gold mining and mercury pollution. The film, "Indigenous Suriname," has been showcased in international film festivals, receiving awards and recognition for its impact on raising awareness about the struggles of Indigenous Amerindians. 

2023 Alexander D. Langmuir Lecturer: Donald Warne

The Langmuir Lecture is the preeminent public health lecture in the U.S. In 2023, Donald Warne, MD, MPH, delivered the 2023 lecture, Engaging Indigenous Communities to Promote Health Equity. Dr. Warne discussed the impact of historical trauma and policies that have marginalized Indigenous peoples in the United States on public health inequities. 

This Land (Podcast) 

How a string of custody battles over Native children became a federal lawsuit that threatens everything from tribal sovereignty to civil rights. 
In Trust (Podcast) 

In present-day Osage County, much land has shifted from Osage ownership through a combination of brutal events, like the Reign of Terror, and subtler processes over decades, facilitated by U.S. government policies. "In Trust" narrates the story of this system, illustrating the transfer of wealth from Native to white hands, laying the groundwork for a lasting American dynasty of land and influence. 

The Red Nation (Podcast) 

Discussions on Indigenous history, politics and culture.  

Intervals (Podcast): "Tuberculosis and Settler Colonialism in Cold War Alaska"  

Lanzarotta, a historian of science and medicine at the University of Toronto School of Public Health and a specialist on the history of Indigenous health and healing, gives a lecture on the history of tuberculosis mitigation in Alaska during the mid-20th century. 

Seattle Aquarium's Indigenous Peoples Community Day 

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Free admission, special programming and cultural performances. Join us as we welcome members of the Indigenous community! Explore the Aquarium’s habitats and enjoy a variety of fun cultural activities, including tales from Indigenous storytellers. 

Exhibit at Wing Luke Museum 

Guma' Gela': Part Land, Part Sea, All Ancestry, June 9, 2023 – May 12, 2024 

Featuring the work of the Guma' Gela', a queer CHamoru art collective made up of members from the Marianas and in the diaspora, the exhibit explores their motto "part land, part sea, all ancestry" through a broad spectrum of media. 

Burke Museum exhibits + resources 

November is our national Native American Heritage month! As the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Burke presents daily opportunities — both at the museum and out in the community — to engage with the living traditions of Native American cultures. 

Free admissions first Thursday of each month.