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

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From the stories of Skywoman and Even, indigenous and western ideas of humans' relationship with plants and animals have been diametrically opposed. The culture of consumerism and dominance, however, has failed, and this book weaves together stories, gratitude, science, and love to show us a path forward. It is a book not just of knowing but of doing. You will want to braid sweetgrass, carry salamanders over roads, plant the three sisters, weave a basket, plant an old-growth forest (I know, but read the book). Here are recipes that teach us how to show gratitude and respect the people, human and not. I wonder what might happen if each of our days began with at least a piece of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, a gift they willingly share with the world. So beautifully written your heart will ache with the longing to, through acts of reciprocity, live as if our children's futures matter, "to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it."

— Linda


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

Updated with a new introduction from Robin Wall Kimmerer, the special edition of Braiding Sweetgrass, reissued in honor of the fortieth anniversary of Milkweed Editions, celebrates the book as an object of meaning that will last the ages. Beautifully bound with a new cover featuring an engraving by Tony Drehfal, this edition includes a bookmark ribbon and five brilliantly colored illustrations by artist Nate Christopherson. In increasingly dark times, we honor the experience that more than 350,000 readers in North America have cherished about the book--gentle, simple, tactile, beautiful, even sacred--and offer an edition that will inspire readers to gift it again and again, spreading the word about scientific knowledge, indigenous wisdom, and the teachings of plants.

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 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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781571311771
ISBN-10: 1571311777
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Pages: 456
Language: English