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

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9780141991955: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
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'A hymn of love to the world ... 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, author of Eat, Pray, Love

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 ways of knowledge together.

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.

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Review:

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)

An extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most - the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page (Jane Goodall)

With deep compassion and graceful prose, Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages readers to consid­er the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing story­teller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live (Publishers Weekly)

The gift of Robin Wall Kimmerer's book is that she provides readers the ability to see a very common world in uncommon ways, or, rather, in ways that have been commonly held but have recently been largely discarded. She puts forth the notion that we ought to be interacting in such a way that the land should be thankful for the people (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Beautifully written . . . Anyone who enjoys reading about natural history, botany, protecting
na­ture, or Native American culture will love this book

(Library Journal)

About the Author:

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

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