Novels About Native or American Indians

These novels have Native Indian characters, and are sometimes set on a reservation.

Animal Dreams | Barbara Kingsolver

Codi returns to her hometown of Grace, Arizona to care for her father who has Alzheimer’s disease. Her sister, Hallie, moves to Nicaragua to teach the people about agricultural practices even though it’s a dangerous area. Codi meets up again with Loyd, a Native American man she has a history with. A local mining company is polluting the river and has plans to divert it, which would be devastating to the orchards.

House Made of Dawn | N. Scott Momaday

It is 1945 when Abel’s grandfather picks him up at the bus station. He has just returned from World War II. He remembers frightening things from his early life on the reservation and his wartime experiences. He does a little work for a white woman who lives nearby, and they develop a relationship.

Hatter Fox | Marilyn Harris

Hatter is a seventeen-year-old Navajo girl in a reformatory. She comes to the attention of Teague, a doctor from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. When he starts checking up on her, he finds she is violent and unmanageable. She is harshly punished and mistreated at the reformatory. Teague tries to make some kind of connection with Hatter in the hope of improving her life.

Pigs in Heaven | Barbara Kingsolver

Taylor and her adopted daughter Turtle are on a trip at Hoover Dam when the child sees a man fall into the spillway. They get help and he is saved. The story is publicized, leading to an appearance on the Oprah show. A lawyer for the Cherokee Nation hears the story of her adoption, and works to remove Turtle from Taylor’s care so she will know about her culture.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water | Michael Dorris

Three Native American women each narrate a section of this story from their own perspective. It’s told in reverse order starting with the granddaughter, then the mother, then the grandmother, with each narrative adding fresh information and enabling a new interpretation of previously told events.

Love Medicine | Louise Erdrich

June Kashpaw is heading home to the reservation when she meets a man and gets distracted. June’s history is filled in with memories of her family.

The Dead of the House | Hannah Green

Vanessa Nye remembers her life from childhood to adulthood, including the history of her family. She got a lot of her information from conversations with her grandfather. He told her stories of his family, his canoe trips across Canada, and his friendship with an Indian guide.

Ceremony | Leslie Marmon Silko

Tayo, a mixed-blood Native American, has psychological problems from his time in World War II and, to a lesser extent, his troubled childhood. He wants to reconnect with his traditions and spirituality.

Sweetgrass | Jan Hudson

It is late 1837 in Alberta and Montana where Sweetgrass, a fifteen-year-old girl, wants to marry Eagle Sun. She worries that a marriage will be arranged with someone else. She tries to balance her own wishes with her Blackfoot culture.