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Braiding Sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass

Book - 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 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"-- Provided by publisher.
"As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness--the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural--to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Milkweed Editions, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781571313355
Call Number: 305.897 K571b
Characteristics: x, 390 pages ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

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.

From the critics

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Jun 20, 2021

If you are interested in practical science
or Indigenous culture,
if you appreciate thoughtful, intelligent, poetic wordsmithing,
if you care about walking gently upon the earth
you’ll love this book.

May 21, 2021

This is an astonishingly beautiful collection of essays that connect science, personal stories and traditional teaching. It is a gift to the world. Thank you, Robin, for sharing your gifts!

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."

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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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