After 17 years Birchbark Books continues to center Native stories, space amid society of erasure

Snuggled in the Kenwood neighborhood near Lake of the Isles, Birchbark Books and Native Arts serves as a vital hub for Native literature and art. Owner and renowned author Louise Erdrich opened the independent bookstore to “nourish and build a community based on books.” But this is not your average bookstore. Situated in a city with the largest concentration of urban Native people in the United States, Erdrich, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe, sees it as a space for “locus Indigirati – literate Indigenous people who have survived over half a millennium on this continent.” Seventeen years later and just as resilient, Birchbark Books continues to be an integral resource for Native literature and community conversation.

The independent bookstore prides itself in its uniqueness. “As the malling of America continues, it is our mission to be…

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