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Indigenous-Owned Bookstores in the US

Three booksellers share their journeys and book recommendations

Indigenous-Owned Bookstores

Books are vital to understanding ourselves and those around us. Use this month as a starting place to read more beloved stories by Indigenous authors and about Native American history. As you look for your next read, support Native American bookstores around the United States. This map highlights Indigenous-owned bookstores to support this month and every month. And learn from the booksellers behind Books & Burrow, The King’s English Bookshop, and Red Salmon Arts, Casa de Resistencia Books about their journey, business, and book recommendations below.

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Bird Cage Book Store | Birchbark Books | Red Planet Books & Comics | The King’s English Bookshop | Books & Burrow | Red Salmon Arts, Casa de Resistencia Books




Books & Burrow  

Location: Pittsburg, Kansas 
Owners: Darcie and Dave Shultz 
Instagram: @booksandburrow 

Can you tell us about your background and the story behind your bookstore?  

We (me -Darcie, my husband Dave, and our daughter Rylie) moved back to the Midwest following challenging times due to COVID in the summer of 2020. Relocating to Pittsburg, KS a mid-size community in Southeast Kansas –- we were starting over. With careers in other industries, Dave a former wildland firefighter, and me a senior arts administrator and modern dancer – owning an independent bookstore was one of those dreams in the back of your mind. Books and reading are a big part of our family life, and our daughter is an avid reader and book collector. It really was/is her unwavering passion for the literary world that is the inspiration behind the store. There wasn’t a new book bookstore in town and it was like everything that needed to fall into place aligned at just the right moment.  

Our goal is to bring awareness and help others who might be seeking a pathway to regaining their cultural identity through connective literature.

We moved at the end of July 2020, quickly came to the realization that we might be able to bring this literary hub idea of ours to life, and, with a huge amount of luck, a retail space became available next to my brother and sister-in-law’s shop (every day we are grateful) the beginning of November. Everything happened so quickly and we moved full steam ahead (with A LOT of support of many, many people), opening in less than a month on Small Business Saturday. It is still surreal to think that we will be celebrating our opening anniversary this month!   

During the planning phase, we knew that a big part of our mission would be to incorporate my and my daughter’s heritage and always feature Indigenous authors and stories. We are Peoria and Miami – both enrolled members of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Bookstores have the ability and platform to affirm within their communities that representation matters. Our goal is to bring awareness and help others who might be seeking a pathway to regaining their cultural identity through connective literature. We are a small-scale store and every day we continue to learn in order to incorporate more!  

What is one book you would recommend to readers for Native American Heritage Month, and why?   

For adult readers, The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson! I love everything about this book and hold it dear to my heart. A compelling novel, spanning generations based on intergenerational trauma, it beautifully and achingly proves Indigenous resilience and hope. It is incredibly relevant today given the horrors finally coming to light regarding residential schools both in the U.S. and Canada. A story like this is critical, but especially this month as some Natives and Non-Natives experience very different Novembers.   




The King’s English Bookshop 

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah 
Co-Owner: Calvin Crosby 
Instagram: @kingsenglishbookshop 

Can you tell us about your background and the story behind your bookstore? 

Betsy Burton founded The King’s English Bookshop in the gorgeous neighborhood of 15th and 15th in SLC 44 years ago. She retired this year and I purchased her shares of the store where we continue to match books to readers since 1977. The bookstore has a reputation of having a strong literary point of view as well as being an incredible general bookstore. We are known to have expert booksellers throughout all our sections. TKE is well connected to our local schools with some of the most amazing children’s booksellers in the nation in our store. I grew up poor on the west side of Salt Lake County in a town called Magna and would take the bus and hike up the hill to shop TKE. As a native queer kid, the bookstore offered me not only a broad assortment of diverse literary fiction (Love Medicine-Louise Erdrich, The Beautiful Room Is Empty-Edmund White and so many more) but it was a safe space for me to talk books and find acceptance. I am sure that that acceptance and sense of safety as well as being surrounded by books at TKE has led me to an incredible career in bookselling of over 25 years. Coming in as a co-owner of this SLC institution is the most amazing thing I could have ever imagined. I am working on ways to get funding to be able to get books into the hands of kids, not just the underserved communities here in SL County but to the many reservations that surround us here. I have learned the art of bookselling from great bookstores like TKE, Weller’s Books, The Tattered Cover (Denver) as well as my work experience at Book Passage in Corte Madera and at the SF Ferry Building (I opened that location!) as well as Books Inc. with location throughout the SF Bay Area. I have been the Sales and Marketing Director of McSweeney’s as well as most recently the Executive Director of the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. The last year I also consulted at Sacramento’s Underground Books, a Black focused non-profit bookstore in the Oak Park neighborhood. 

What is one book you would recommend to readers for Native American Heritage Month, and why? 

Just one is near impossible— I think that There There by Tommy Orange is a profound work of fiction showcasing the Native occupation of Alcatraz told from multiple perspectives. There There is a gorgeous masterpiece and works equally well as a page-turner or on audio. If there was more time and space I would recommend An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz as well as her follow up Not “A Nation of Immigrants”— real history of not only the native people but of the stolen land and the impact of genocide and atrocities that have been inflicted on the First Nation tribes as the West was settled. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich was the ground-breaker that lead us to so many contemporary works such as Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford, Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, and Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. 




Red Salmon Arts, Casa de Resistencia Books 

Location: Austin, Texas 
Owner: Dr. Lilia Rosas 
Instagram: @redsalmonarts 

Can you tell us about your background and the story behind your bookstore? 

Red Salmon Arts, Casa de Resistencia Books was founded by poet-activist raúlrsalinas in 1981. He wanted to create an intentional political and artistic space in the community, shaped by his own experiences of working-class upbringing, incarceration, reclamation of his Native Xicanindio roots, and solidarity with liberation movements worldwide. We carry on his legacy while also adapting to represent the new faces and personalities that keep RSA going. 

What is one book you would recommend to readers for Native American Heritage Month, and why? 

As Long as Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker is an incredible dive into the indigenous-led environmental justice movement. During Native American Heritage Month, we hope to draw attention to this most dire struggle to preserve the earth and reclaim our collective role as stewards of the land. It is a struggle that binds all indigenous people, as well as their allies, together. 


Discover a few of these booksellers’ recommendations, as well as more stories by Indigenous authors.

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There There by Tommy Orange
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There There
By Tommy Orange
Paperback $16.00
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Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
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Sabrina & Corina
By Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Paperback $17.00
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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Paperback $16.00
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Not "A Nation of Immigrants" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
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Not "A Nation of Immigrants"
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Hardcover $27.95
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As Long as Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
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As Long as Grass Grows
By Dina Gilio-Whitaker
Paperback $16.00
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