Oceti Sakowin Camp - Standing Rock, South Dakota 2016/ GCNAC website. 

Curated by the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition, intro written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

The city of Cincinnati is built on Native land that has belonged to Indigenous people since time immemorial. The Shawnee and Myaamia were the caretakers of this land before their violent, forced removal. Sacred earthworks of great spiritual and ancestral significance were spread across what is now the Central Business District and the surrounding neighborhoods. A large crescent-shaped earthwork once stretched all the way from Vine Street and East Central Parkway to 12th Street in Washington Park. It, along with all of the others, was destroyed in the late 1700s to early 1800s to make way for the construction of the city.

This year, Indigenous Peoples Day is Monday, October 14. Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to acknowledge these hard truths, the broken treaties, and the removal of Indigenous people at the hands of the U.S. government and its citizens who stole land that was not theirs to take. It is also vital that we recognize the original stewards of the land we now occupy and where they are now as a result. This is part of a step towards healing and reconciliation with Native communities.

On October 3, 2018, Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution officially recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. This moment was a long time coming. Activists from local Native American community organizations like the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition, American Indian Movement (AIM) of Ohio, AIM Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky, and others fought for this change for years, putting the pressure on City Council as early as 2014. 

The first city to officially declare Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day was Berkley, California in 1992. Cincinnati joins the 11 states and 128 other cities who opted out of celebrating Columbus Day since then and replaced it with a celebration of the nation’s diverse Indigenous people, who represent 573 federally recognized tribal Nations and many currently unrecognized tribal Nations.

Christopher Columbus and the “Doctrine of Discovery” that his 1492 voyage represents marks the global invasion of Indigenous lands and the beginning of the systematic European colonization and genocide of Indigenous people that ensued over the following centuries through disease, forced removal, and ethnic cleansing.

The oversimplified history many children are taught in school about Columbus is largely false. Columbus didn’t “discover” America. In fact, he didn’t “discover” anything. He landed in the Bahamas while looking for Asia. He proceeded to enslave many of the Taíno people he met upon his arrival on their land in Hispanola (Haiti) and unwittingly spread an untold number of diseases that decimated Native communities.

The celebration of Columbus Day glorifies European mythology while ignoring the experiences of Indigenous people at the hands of Columbus and figures like him. It also erases the continued cultural vibrancy, resilience, and traditions that live on with Native American people today despite these atrocities.

One way we can honor Indigenous people of the past and present is to educate one another on Native history, Native triumph, and the struggles Native communities face today. The Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition (GCNAC) has graciously allowed us to share their curated list of resources for people of all ages and backgrounds who want to learn more about Indigenous people.

GCNAC is a group of organizations, churches, individuals, and others who support Native American and Indigenous treaty and human rights, as well as racial issues on a local and national level.

It is their mission to preserve and represent the cultural heritage of Native American, Indigenous, and First Nations people; to provide education, advocacy, and support on contemporary Indigenous issues and cultivate knowledge about Native American history in local and regional communities. You can learn more about joining them in their mission by visiting their website at

For Children 

Sweetest Kulu
by Celina Kalluk 

Ages 3+

You Hold Me Up
by Monique Grey Smith

Ages 4+

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson

Ages 4+

Young Water Protectors
by Aslan Tudor

Ages 6+ 
GCNAC notes: In this book the young author documents his experiences as an 8-year-old in the Standing Rock camp. His story is accompanied by his mother’s photos.

by Jane Yolen

Ages 6+
GCNAC notes: Confronts the myths of Columbus from an Indigenous perspective. A reading of it can be found here

Shin-chi’s Canoe
by Nicola I. Campbell

Ages 7+ 

I am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer

Ages 7+ 

Talking Leaves
by Joseph Bruchac

Ages 9+ 

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Ages 12+


There There
by Tommy Orange

GCNAC notes: content warning for sexual assault, addiction.

The Round House
by Louise Erdrich

GCNAC notes: content warning for sexual assault.

The Marrow Thieves
by Cherie Dimaline

Young Adult
GCNAC notes: content warning for sexual assault.

Hearts Unbroken
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Young Adult

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
Young Adult

Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vermette 
Young Adult


All the Real Indians Died Off
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Diana Gilio-Whitaker

GCNAC notes: Confronts 20 myths about Native people, discussing where the myths/stereotypes come from and why they are inaccurate and harmful. 

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Through Indian Eyes
by Various Authors 

GCNAC notes: A compilation of work by Indigenous writers and scholars.  

Custer Died for Your Sins
by Vine Deloria Jr. 

GCNAC: is a significant read that is both upfront and humorous. Deloira Jr. has over 20 books about issues for Native people. 

The Winona LaDuke Reader
by Winona LaDuke 

Movies & Documentaries

Reel Injun


Smoke Signals


Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner


Rhymes for Young Ghouls

In Whose Honor? American Indian Mascots in Sports


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