Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day: Indigenous Voices in Speculative Fiction
I wanted to take a moment to talk about a potentially sensitive topic because, if there is one thing that we have learned from recent times, it is crucial to be vocal. It is especially important to me because I believe that words hold incredible power. As a lover of books and a person involved in bringing stories into the world, I am in a unique position to funnel a little bit of that word power into an issue.
Today is Indigenous Peoples Day in the United States, or, as many still celebrate, Columbus Day. Recently, there has been a resurgence of attention on the national holiday with calls to replace it with the aforementioned Indigenous Peoples Day as a way to subvert a whitewashed telling of US history and a celebration of colonialism. By creating the opportunity to educate around indigenous issues, the hope is to thwart the persistence of the erasure of Native American history.
To date, 13 states—Alaska, Arizona, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia—celebrate Indigenous People's Day in place of Columbus Day. Additionally, many cities—including my own— and school districts across the country have adopted this celebration. It has been 31 years since South Dakota codified Native American Day in 1989, and we still have a lot of work to do.
Though this is a small step in recognizing the colonial history of North America and the genocide of indigenous peoples, it is an opportunity for us to honor the many vibrant and essential indigenous voices in speculative fiction. Each of these authors, from what is now known as the United States and Canada, brings the sum of their experience—their inherited experiences and stories.
I genuinely hope that you find a book on this list that captivates you. I hope that you have the joy of seeing representation of someone like you reflected in their pages, or that you experience the delight of inhabiting a perspective outside of your own. Some of the most compelling voices in speculative fiction include authors listed below, and I am so excited for any new readers to discover them. As always, happy reading.