Indigenous Resistance & Resilience: New VOW Book Shares First-Person Stories from Native North America

A copy of the How We Go Home book
How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America is out now!

The latest addition to the Voice of Witness oral history book series, How We Go Home, launches on October 6, in advance of Indigenous Peoples Day.

How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America shares twelve contemporary first-person stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect Native land, rights, and life. These narratives are shaped by loss, injustice, resilience, and the struggle to share space with settler nations. 

Edited by Sara Sinclair and published by Haymarket Books, How We Go Home provides deep historical context for understanding present-day Indigenous lived experiences and the intergenerational impacts of over five hundred years of colonization in North America.

Narrators include: Jasilyn Charger, who kickstarted a movement of Water Protectors at Standing Rock that roused the world; Gladys Radek, whose niece’s disappearance led her to become a family advocate for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; Ervin Chartrand, whose early experiences in the carceral system inform his documentaries on the overrepresentation of Indigenous people within the prison system; Marian Naranjo, who led Santa Clara and nearby pueblos to document the environmental and cultural consequences of living next to the US government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory; and many others.

Editor Sara Sinclair is an oral historian, writer, and educator of Cree-Ojibwe and settler descent. She writes:

Oral history offers a powerful lens to view our lives in a way that connects past to present and future. This book provides an opportunity to reflect on the continuous impact our shared history has on contemporary Indigenous experiences. I hope that these stories will be moved into schools and public discourse to offer alternatives to over-told, colonialist-absolving and historically inaccurate narratives. There are so many more stories that need to be heard. Including the stories of Native people working to revitalize their cultures and languages, form traditional support systems, and rebuild their nations.

The Voice of Witness education team worked with Indigenous education specialist Suzanne Methot to create free lesson plans available for educators to download online and bring these stories into the classroom. The curriculum provides detailed teaching strategies and resources to move past “the single story” and toward a more nuanced and empathy-based understanding of the issues facing Indigenous peoples and the impact of ongoing settler colonialism—all too often glossed over in North American school systems. These Common Core-aligned lesson plans urge teachers and students to think critically about colonialism and interrelated issues, including: intergenerational trauma, identity, healthcare, policing, Indigenous rights, resource extraction, and resistance. 

By amplifying Indigenous voices and forging space for Native peoples to tell their stories in their own words, this book and its free curriculum are powerful tools for building connections across communities and classrooms, resisting misinformation and invisibility around Indigenous lived experiences, and building critical thinking and social-emotional learning skills among students.

Watch the launch event below, and check out the upcoming events co-hosted by Voice of Witness and Haymarket Books in partnership with grassroots Indigenous organizations and advocates.

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