In “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Robin Wall Kimmerer shows how science and indigenous wisdom converge in important ways. Drawing on her experience as a scientist and member of the Potawatomi nation, Kimmerer reveals that modern ecology provides a scientific lens for understanding indigenous teachings about relationships with nature. She then demonstrates the importance of restoring traditional ecological knowledge to its proper place in our contemporary culture. Blending memoir, biology, history, and philosophy, this exquisitely written book offers fresh insights into natural phenomena long observed by Native Americans—phenomena that can help us all reconnect with the web of life.
For who is this book for ?
This book is for people who want to learn about the relationships between indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge. It also appeals to those who are interested in nature and philosophy.
- Robin Wall Kimmerer is a highly respected scientist and member of the Potawatomi nation
- This book blends memoir, biology, history, and philosophy in an exquisite way
- It offers fresh insights into natural phenomena long observed by Native Americans
- The writing can be dense at times.
- The book is long and could have been edited down a bit.
- Some of the indigenous teachings Kimmerer discusses are not easy to understand without a lot of background in Native American culture
Learn more about the author
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Environmental Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she teaches courses in plant ecology and ethics, Native American philosophy, and ecological wisdom. She holds a BS in botany from Iowa State University, an MS in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a PhD in forest ecology from Yale University.From early childhood on her Potawatomi mother’s knees, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been learning nature’s lessons: that all life is related to one another; that we are responsible for caring for Mother Earth; that science and spiritualism are not mutually exclusive but complementary ways of knowing about the world. In “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Dr. Kimmerer gathers those teachings here as she offers us wise—and timely—advice on living well in planetary times.
“Braiding Sweetgrass is one of the most important books I have ever read. It not only deepened my understanding of indigenous ways of knowing and seeing the world, but also opened me to an entirely new way of engaging with life on this planet. If you are at all interested in ecology, botany, anthropology, or simply being alive on Earth, please read this book.”
“Braiding Sweetgrass is a gem of a book. Kimmerer not only shares her deep knowledge of the natural world and Potawatomi ways, but she does so in a way that will speak to anyone who loves nature and wants to understand it better.”
“The book is beautiful, from cover to cover. I have a deep appreciation for how [Kimmerrer] weaves her personal story and scientific knowledge with the traditional ecological teachings of her Potawatomi people.”
“Braiding Sweetgrass is a luminous, lyrical plea for listening to the wisdom of indigenous cultures and recognizing our own place in the natural world.”