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

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Staff Reviews

Kimmerer asks her students to name a positive relationship nature has with humans and the group fails to name a single one. With each chapter, I found myself reevaluating how I relate to the world around me. The ways that nature depends on me just as much as I depend on it. The ways that the planet would not be better off if humans were to just disappear. It was a spiritual experience

— Parrish

This is by far one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It focuses on the importance of botany, in a sense, in Indigenous cultures. One of the bigger themes was the symbiotic relationship between Mama Earth and us as humans. Respecting and healing the land so she can respect and heal us as well. Also, storytelling was a highlight. Not only do people tell stories, but so does the Earth and we have to learn to listen.
As an American-Indian Studies minor in college, some of the information and references about Indigenous people, culture, language, and lands were familiar so I was able to use my prior knowledge to learn more which I loved!!

— Asia


A New York Times bestseller
A Washington Post bestseller
A Los Angeles Times bestseller
Named a "Best Essay Collection of the Decade" by Literary Hub
A Book Riot "Favorite Summer Read of 2020"
A Food Tank Fall 2020 Reading Recommendation

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.

About the Author

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling collection of essays Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants as well as Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Kimmerer is a 2022 MacArthur Fellow. 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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781571313560
ISBN-10: 1571313567
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: August 11th, 2015
Pages: 408
Language: English