You may be surprised to hear that romance novels are a genre of writing that the Indigenous literary movement has yet to really penetrate (yes, I went there). It took some research for us to dig up more than a couple examples of romance genre books written by Indigenous authors. We have few excellent examples to share with you this Valentine’s Day.
Note: Doing a quick search on the internet for “Indigenous” + “romance” can muster up some incredibly disturbing souvenirs of colonial constructs and the ‘noble savage’ romanticism in North American literature. So please, if you know of any more valid examples, please send us a note on Instagram @raven_reads The more we can elevate these Indigenous authors, the more we can hopefully see a greater presence within this genre.
Credit: We also need to give credit to Jessica Avery and her post on BookRiot.comfor providing us with most of this content. For a more in-depth glimpse into these books, please visit her blog article.
Her Land, Her Love by Evangeline Parsons Yazzie
Categorized as a Young Adult novel, Yazzie’s book “Her Land, Her Love” offers a deep dive into Navajo culture and perspective on love, life, and family written in both English and Navajo.
“Ninaanibaa’s heart belonged to Hashké Yił Naabaah (The Warrior Who Fights with Anger). She loved him for protecting his awéé’ (babies), K’é (kinship), Naabeehó (Navajo People), and Dinétah (land). Hashké Yił Naabaah is summoned on a pursuit to restore peace and harmony to Dinétah. Nínááníbaa’ gently placed her hand over her heart and wondered if her own heart was prepared to never feel love again. She stopped to think about life without love, the kind of love that her husband showered upon her.” (Source: https://salinabookshelf.com/product/her-land-her-love-audio/)
About the Author:
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie is an accomplished Navajo author and educator. She has authored a four-book novel series along with a Navajo Language textbook, correlated workbook, and a teacher’s edition. Currently, she is a professor at Northern Arizona University teaching Navajo language courses.
Eternal Lovers by V.S. Nelson
Is Paranormal Romance more your thing? Then look no further. Journey back to a fictional blend of American Indigenous and Egyptian folklore. Eternal Lovers is the first installment in V.S. Nelson’s ‘Sekhmet’s Guardians’ series.
“When two hidden worlds collide near modern-day Lake Michigan, Jennifer, a young Native American, is confronted with the reality not everything is as it seems and things do go bump in the night.” (Source: GoodReads.com)
“Gabriel has suffered in grief for centuries due to the loss of his only love in an attack far back in ancient Egypt. He has really just existed and lived only for revenge… along comes Jen who he cannot keep his eyes off from the first moment they meet”. (Source: GoodReads.com)
About the Author:
V.S. Nelson is an Indigenous writer living in Arizona. She has extensive experience writing commercial novels and her teaching career has taken her around the world. Nelson has a fondness for history, mythology, the occult, and the unexplained.
#IndianLovePoems by Tenille K. Campbell
Looking for something a little more raw and intimate? Look no further.
#IndianLovePoems is an inaugural assembly of humorous, passionate, and truly genuine poetry by the famous Saskatchewan photographer, Tenille K. Campbell. Confronting the complex nitty-gritty of culture, race, and sex, Campbell gives readers a little laughter, a smidgeon of life in the bush, and a whole lot of Indigenous love and erotica.
About the Author:
Tenille K Campbell is a Dene/Métis author and photographer from English River First Nation, SK. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is enrolled in her Ph.D. at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also the artist behind Sweetmoon Photography and currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Source: https://www.tenillecampbell.com)
(Photo credit: CBC.ca/Sweetmoon Photography)