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Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Milkweed Editions
 | 
September, 2014
ISBN:
9781571313560
In stock now: 
3
$26.50 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

With incredible grace and attention to the natural world, Robin Kimmerer takes readers on a field trip through ancient forests and backyard ponds, sacred sites and urban wastelands. Plants become powerful metaphors for healing our relationship with the natural world, and guides in the process of becoming indigenous to place ourselves.

Through a unique combination of science, Native American teachings, and memoir, she shows us in the most subtle of ways how plants are our indigenous teachers, ultimately revealing a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature.

Braiding Sweetgrass crosses boundaries between indigenous and dominant culture, between science and literature, between matter and spirit, bringing readers back into conversation with all that is green and growing—a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even if we neglected to listen.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together in Braiding Sweetgrass to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise. She is a great teacher, and her words are a hymn of love to the world.” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

It is an intertwining of science, spirit, and story—old stories and new ones that can be medicine for our broken relationship with earth, a pharmacopoeia of healing stories that allow us to imagine a different relationship, in which people and land are good medicine for each other.

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 acknowledgement 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.

Publisher’s Description: 

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" ( Publishers Weekly ) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on 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). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices.

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