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Braiding Sweetgrass (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

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


An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation." As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.

About the Author

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, a scientist, a decorated professor, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her first book, Gathering Moss was awarded the 2005 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Her writings have appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and Stone Canoe amongst many others. She lives in Fabius, NY where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and where she is also the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781571313355
ISBN-10: 1571313354
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013
Pages: 390
Language: English