Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Front Cover
Milkweed Editions, Sep 16, 2013 - Nature - 320 pages
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hemlokgang - LibraryThing

This is a lovely collection of essays about the link between nature, culture, and science. The author is a Potawatomi tribal member, a mother, a writer, and a Ph.D Botanist. She lays out the nature of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Aronfish - LibraryThing

Part personal identity and discovery, part environmental teaching, part poetry, this book was my favorite read of the year. Understanding indigenous knowledge of plants and planting, incorporated with ... Read full review

Contents

Skywoman Falling
3
The Council of Pecans
10
The Gift of Strawberries
22
An Offering
33
Asters and Goldenrod
39
Learning the Grammar of Animacy
48
Tending Sweetgrass
61
Maple Sugar Moon
63
Becoming Indigenous to Place
205
The Sound of Silverbells
216
Sitting in a Circle
223
Burning Cascade Head
241
Putting Down Roots
254
The Belly Button of the World
268
OldGrowth Children
277
Witness to the Rain
293

Witch Hazel
72
A Mothers Work
82
The Consolation of Water Lilies
98
Allegiance to Gratitude
105
Picking Sweetgrass
119
Epiphany in the Beans
121
The Three Sisters
128
A Black Ash Basket
141
The Teachings of Grass
156
A Citizenship Guide
167
The Honorable Harvest
175
Braiding Sweetgrass
203
Burning Sweetgrass
301
Windigo Footprints
303
The Sacred and the Superfund
310
People of Corn People of Light
341
Collateral Damage
348
People of the Seventh Fire
360
Defeating Windigo
374
Returning the Gift
380
Notes
385
Sources
387
Acknowledgments
389
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

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