12 Basic Books

At the End of Ridge Road by Joseph Bruchac is a philosophical memoir that explores Native American views of time. Throughout this autobiographical jaunt, Bruchac sheds light on various dimensions of Native American spirituality, including reverence for place and circles as a way of seeing.

The Book of Ceremonies by Gabriel Horn brings together mystery, gratitude, rituals, and living from the heart, all parts of Native American spirituality. The author sees reverence as an essential virtue in the repertoire of all those who are living the sacred.

Honoring the Medicine by Kenneth Cohen is a richly informative volume emphasizing an integral approach to Native American healing that blends philosophy, science, principles, and practice. He concludes that their system of healing is as varied and abundant as acupuncture, homeopathy, and Ayurveda.

Keep Going by James M. Marshall III is destined to become a staple in Native American literature about the art of perseverance. It proves that treasures are often hidden in tragedies and that nature is a wise teacher about loss and impermanence.

Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson is a popular book and card set based on the symbolism of 44 animals and lessons to be learned from them. The Medicine Cards and companion volume help us to get back in touch with the spiritual wisdom that is revealed by nature and storytelling.

Nature's Way by Ed McGaa (Eagle Man) is filled with insights into Native American companionship with animals, the importance of truth telling, the connections with the Spirit world, and the value of laughter. This salutary book shows how cherishing the Earth can become a way of life.

Neither Wolf nor Dog by Kent Nerburn shares an extraordinary account of his encounters with Dan, a Lakota elder who unflinchingly speaks the truth about Indian life, past and present. Filled with incisive observations, here is a classic that should be read and savored by anyone interested in Native American spirituality. A film adaptation has been made for release in 2016.

No Word for Time by Evan T. Pritchard presents a lyrical and spiritually deep summation of the myths, history, and philosophy of the Algonquin people. Pritchard shares his experiences of fasting, his first sweat lodge, a vision quest, and receiving his spiritual name.

Profiles in Wisdom by Steve McFadden draws together interviews with 17 elders who suggest ways of coming to terms with environmental degradation and cultural confusion. The result is discerning counsel for all those who want to tread lightly on the Earth.

A Seat at the Table by Huston Smith and Phil Cousineau shares nine interviews with leaders including Vine Deloria Jr., Oren Lyons, and Charlotte Black Elk. They discuss the hardships they have experienced and the legacy that Native Americans want to pass on to the next generations.

Walking on the Wind by Michael Garrett contends that for the Cherokee tribe, walking the path of good medicine means being in sync with the universe and all its rhythms. He explains their "Rule of Acceptance," which involves letting things unfold in their own time.

The Woman Who Watches Over the World by Linda Hogan is a brilliantly executed autobiography about her Chicksaw relatives, dreams, the good Earth, animals, a near fatal accident, Crazy Horse's connection with stones, and much more. Her sensitivities reveal a deeply spiritual person who has been able to take on the challenges of love and suffering.