Explore Native American Heritage – Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library


November is Native American Heritage Month. Explore the history and traditions of Indigenous peoples with memorable events and powerful readings.

Book Events and Discussions

Native American Artist in Residence Mona Cliff | Sat & Sun, November 5 & 6 | noon – 4 p.m.

Watch multidisciplinary visual artist Mona Cliff work with traditional Native American craft methods such as seed bead embroidery and fabric applique. She is an enrolled member of the Big Belly Tribe (A’aninin/Nakota Nations), she is Frozen Clan (Aniiih) and Medicine Bear Clan (Nakota) of Ft. Belknap, Montana.

Cliff earned a BFA in Printmaking from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Honoring Indigenous culture, she continued to work on her art combining contemporary subjects with indigenous crafting methods. Her art also focuses on how traditional arts are passed down between generations of women. Cliff pursues concepts of generational knowing while exploring other topics such as futurism and Indigenous identity.

Identity Quest Genealogy Conference | Sat 12 Nov | 9am-5pm

Learn about the latest genealogy tools and family tracing tips at this free conference with national and regional genealogy experts. This event features some Native American speakers and artists and discussions on Native heritage and genealogy.

Celebrating the heritage of the search for identity | Sun 13 Nov | 12 p.m.-5 p.m.

Experience music, art, dance, and activities from a variety of cultures, including Native American speakers and performers, and discussions of Native American heritage and genealogy. You can also meet one-on-one with an expert to discuss your genealogical obstacles. Stop at any time and stay as long as you want.

Talk about the book SPEAK | Wed 16 Nov | 7-8:30 p.m.

The discussions in the TALK book immerse you in powerful stories and introduce new perspectives. Chat with an open-minded group in person or Register for a zoom link. In November we will discuss The Rose by Louise Erdrich. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and is the author of numerous novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir on early motherhood. The Rose received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. His most recent book, The night watchman, wins the Pulitzer Prize. This event is sponsored by Humanities Kansas and will be moderated by Professor Emeritus Trish Reeves of Haskell University. If you need a book, email [email protected]

YWCA Racial Justice Book Club | Tue 22 Nov | 7-8:30 p.m.

Engage in thoughtful discussions on racial justice topics. Everyone is welcome. Our title for November is Sweetgrass Braiding: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and Plant Teachings. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated teacher and registered member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Need a copy of the book? Email [email protected] Join this discussion and stay informed about Racial Justice Book Club by subscribing: ywcaneks.org/what-we-do/advocate/

Reading that celebrates Indigenous heritage

Add works by Indigenous authors to your TBR (to read) list throughout the year to embrace new perspectives, learn about our past, and celebrate Indigenous heritage. Browse the book shelves at the library or start with the lists of librarian-recommended titles below on history, identity, family, trauma and nature.

See the full list

See the full list

See the full list

See the full list

See the full list

Miranda is your readers librarian. She loves talking about books and connecting readers with their next great reads. Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she is passionate about promoting literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the local writers’ workshop and the Great Writers Right Here writers’ lounge. Miranda also hosts TALK book discussions, co-leads the BookBites book discussion group, and is part of the library’s Top City Reads Together team.


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