Braiding Sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

eBook - 2013
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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 ol.
"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, a mother, and 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 a rich braid of 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 a wider 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." -- Provided by publisher
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota :, Milkweed Editions,, 2013
Edition: First edition
Description: 1 online resource (405 pages)
ISBN: 9781571318718

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Apr 06, 2021

Recommended by Myrriah

Mar 20, 2021

Braiding Sweetgrass is one of the most important books I've read in my lifetime.
It not only strengthened my relationship with Mother Nature but also helped recognize the joy each day brings.
I've also recommended this book to many family and friends.

Mar 20, 2021

Audrey recommendation.

Mar 03, 2021

Some beautiful prose that enhances a mystical understanding of the connectivity of life.

Despite it's great potential I could not finish the book. Some serious editorial discipline is needed.

I suspect the publishing was rushed to jump on the indigenous wisdom bandwagon.

Dec 07, 2020

This is one of my all-time favorite reads. The blending of traditional and scientific ways of knowing the world combine to create a beautiful appreciation of the natural world.

Oct 23, 2020

Lovely read. Well written and interweaves different ways of knowing the world in a positive and valuable way.

Oct 21, 2020

Essays that lend depth to our understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things and a point of view based on Indigenous history and teachings giving meaning to words like gratitude, reciprocity and home. A Milkweed Editions publication.

Some of Kimmerer’s essays just took my breath away. Having spent time outdoors in both parts of New York and Oregon, settings for much of her work, I could be right in her settings with her. Hope my gardening friends pick this one up; I waited months for a library copy. Interesting that just as it came it got a shout-out from 'Vesper Flights' writer Helen MacDonald when she was interviewed for the recent Minnesota Public Radio/Star Tribune ‘Talking Volumes.’ Perfect reading for this time.

ontherideau Oct 08, 2020

Let's start with respect for the land and gratitude for every morsel we take from it.
"we perpetrate the illusion that the things we consume have just fallen off the back of Santa's sleigh, not been ripped from the earth. The illusion enables us to imagine that the only choices we have are between brands."

debwalker Sep 24, 2020

Resurging as a bestseller for this dark covidtime.

JCLMaggieS Sep 15, 2020

This book reads like home.

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Apr 01, 2020

“To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language.”

rosixdosi Oct 19, 2019

“When a language dies, so much more than words are lost. Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world. Tom says that even words as basic as numbers are imbued with layers of meaning. The numbers we use to count plants in the sweetgrass meadow also recall the Creation Story. Én:ska—one. This word invokes the fall of Skywoman from the world above. All alone, én:ska, she fell toward the earth. But she was not alone, for in her womb a second life was growing. Tékeni—there were two. Skywoman gave birth to a daughter, who bore twin sons and so then there were three— áhsen. Every time the Haudenosaunee count to three in their own language, they reaffirm their bond to Creation.”

rosixdosi Oct 19, 2019

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”

DBRL_ReginaF Apr 26, 2018

“This is really why I made my daughters learn to garden—so they would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone.”

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Apr 01, 2020

afowler813 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Apr 05, 2020

So much ground is covered is this one book. It speaks to the poet, the scientist, the mother, the conservationist, and the friend; the list goes on and on. Read this to discover the unyielding power of generosity and how a mindful, reciprocal relationship with the earth can ACTUALLY enact positive change.


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