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

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

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571318718
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication date: 09/16/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 22,200
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

“Robin Wall Kimmerer is writer of rare grace. She writes about the natural world from a place of such abundant passion that one can never quite see the world the same way after having seen it through Kimmerer’s eyes. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she takes 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. She is a great teacher, and her words are a hymn of love to the world.”—Elizabeth Gilbert

“Robin Wall Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most—the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.”—Jane Goodall

“With deep compassion and graceful prose, Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing storyteller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live.”Publishers Weekly

“Robin Wall Kimmerer opens a sense of wonder and humility for the intelligence in all kinds of life we are used to naming and imagining as inanimate.”—Krista Tippett, host of On Being

“The gift of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book is that she provides readers the ability to see a very common world in uncommon ways, or, rather, in ways that have been commonly held but have recently been largely discarded. She puts forth the notion that we ought to be interacting in such a way that the land should be thankful for the people.”Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Braiding Sweetgrass is instructive poetry. Robin Wall Kimmerer has put the spiritual relationship that Chief Seattle called the ‘web of life’ into writing. Industrial societies lack the understanding of the interrelationships that bind all living things—this book fills that void. I encourage one and all to read these instructions.”—Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation and Indigenous Environmental Leader
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.

Table of Contents


Preface

Planting Sweetgrass
Skywoman Falling
The Pecan Grove
An Offering
The Gift of Strawberries
Asters and Goldenrod
Learning the Grammar of Animacy

Tending Sweetgrass
Maple Sugar Moon
Witch Hazel
The Water Net
The Condolence of Water Lilies
Allegiance to Gratitude

Picking Sweetgrass
Epiphany in the Beans
The Three Sisters
Wisgaak Gokpenagen: A Black Ash basket
Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass
Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide
The Honorable Harvest

Braiding Sweetgrass
In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Place
The Sound of Silverbells
Sitting in a Circle
Burning Cascade Head
Putting Down Roots
Umbilicaria: The bellybutton of the World
Old Growth Children
Witness to the Rain

Burning Sweetgrass
Windigo Footprints
The Sacred and the Superfund
Collateral Damage
People of Corn, People of Light
Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Fire
Defeating Windigo

Epilogue: Returning the Gift

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Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
From personal exemplar essays of bringing up children to love and care for the land, extending out to the history of clearcutting vast old growth forests and back to saving salamanders the author is a brilliant storyteller with the ability to draw you into the lessons she teaches, the trial and error attempts of many to clean up the acts of those who use and abuse the gifts of the earth, and give hope to the disenfranchised people and ecological permaculture of a healthier earth. This book left me breathless and speechless. Having lived the greater part of the decade in the shadow of Lake Onondaga, I can feel as well as see this ecological terrorism. I am moved by Dr. Kimmerer’s call for reciprocity, for us to quiet our minds to learn lessons lost in grief and greediness. This book had me laughing and crying, almost at the same time. I was very moved, and personally challenged by it. It is not a read it all at once Book, but one than needs to be read in chunks to fully comprehend it. Highly recommended 5/5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you+will+want+to+keep+this+book+nearby+to+read+again+and+again.++more+than+a+well+researched+scientific+tome%2C+it+is+steeped+in+spirituality+and+conveys+deeply+felt+meaning+of+what+it+means+to+be+part+of+this+sacred+earth.
coyotetracks More than 1 year ago
Absolutely marvelous. Such a beautiful and heartfelt exploration of nature when seen through the heart, and the understanding that all things are interwoven. I've gifted this book to three people already and will likely do so again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago