Speaking Volumes | Great stories by Native American authors

Endowed with the gift of storytelling, Native American authors have enriched our lives with stories steeped in the history of the Indian nations, from historical to modern day adventures. Enjoy works by these popular, inspiring and award-winning Native American authors that are available at the Manatee County public libraries.

"The Heartsong of Charging Elk" is by award-winning author and member of the Blackfeet nation, James Welch. Inspired by actual historical events, this is the story of an Oglala Sioux who travels an extraordinary geographical and cultural distance from tribal life in the Black Hills of South Dakota to the streets of Marseille. Charging Elk witnessed the massacre at the Little Bighorn and experienced life on a reservation. Because of his horsemanship skills, Buffalo Bill recruited him for his Wild West Show which traveled across "the big water" to Europe. After he falls ill and is inadvertently left behind in a hospital, a series of events ensue including falling in love with a prostitute and a shocking murder, which changes his life beyond his imagining. This is a haunting epic of culture shock and colliding ways of life and thought.

Boasting an Irish and Ojibwe (Chippewa) heritage, Edgar-Award winning author William Kent Krueger has penned "Windigo Island" the 14th book in his Cork O'Connor crime series. In this go-round, former sheriff-turned-private investigator Cork O'Connor helps trace the whereabouts of a missing 15-year-old girl. Cork has to wade through a maze of mystery if he has any chance of finding the girl, dead or alive. Intertwined with a sex trafficking ring and a dark spirit called Michi Peshu, the suspense keeps building. This fictional narrative draws from the way of life, myths and culture of the Ojibwe people.

"A String of Beads" by Thomas Perry, of Iroquois decent, is the eighth book in the great Jane Whitefield series. When Jimmy, an old childhood friend is framed for murder, Jane can't refuse the request for help from the eight clan mothers of her Seneca tribe. Using her experience and Indian culture as a guide, Jane goes after Jimmy. He's being sought by the police as well as the folks who framed him. As the chase intensifies in this thriller, the number of people caught up in this twisted plot multiplies.

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Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Cathy Habora is a staff member at the Braden River Branch Library.