Braiding Sweetgrass

    Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
    By Robin Kimmerer
    November 24 at 7 am Pacific Time




    "In winter, when the green earth lies resting beneath a blanket of snow, this is the time for storytelling. The storytellers begin by calling upon those who came before who passed the stories down to us, for we are only messengers.

    In the beginning there was the Skyworld."

    Robin Wall Kimmerer

    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 two lenses of knowing together (tools of science and indigenous wisdom) 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. 

    Registration opening soon!

    About the Author

    RWKimmererDr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, plant ecologist, writer and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She is the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Of European and Anishinaabe ancestry, Robin is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students, and to create new models for integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture.

    The author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology, Dr. Kimmerer is also active in literary biology. Her first book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing. Her second book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, was awarded the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award and recently landed on the New York Times Bestseller list. Dr. Kimmerer’s essays appear in Whole Terrain, Adirondack Life, Orion and several anthologies.

    Dr. Kimmerer holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF and an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.


    "One of the unexpected silver linings of lockdown and quarantine has been the ability to rediscover the joys of nature in our own backyards,” says media futurist Caroline McCarthy.  "There's no better book to read for renewing our connection with the natural world than Braiding Sweetgrass. The author is a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, so this set of loosely connected essays on plants and the rest of the natural world is a beautiful blend of science and spirituality."

    ---Jessica Stillman, “20 Books TED Speakers Think You Should Read This Summer”.


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