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

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

Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained as a botanist to use scientific methods to raise questions about nature. She believes that plants and animals are our earliest instructors as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kimmerer weaves these two worlds of knowledge together in Braiding Sweetgrass, taking us on a trip that is “every bit as legendary as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as intelligent as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Kimmerer explains how other living beings asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve lost how to hear their voices, drawing on her experiences as an indigenous scientist and as a woman. She circles back to a central argument in her reflections, which range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its survival today: that the awakening of ecological consciousness necessitates the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. Only when we can understand the languages of other beings will we be able to appreciate the earth’s generosity and learn to reciprocate with our own offerings.