Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
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 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—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.
Praise for Braiding Sweetgrass
“Robin Wall Kimmerer is writer of rare grace. She writes about the natural world from a place of such abundant passion that one can never quite see the world the same way after having seen it through Kimmerer’s eyes. She is a great teacher, and her words are a hymn of love to the world.”
–Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
About the Author
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. 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.
Real Food Reads Recipes
Our resident recipe guru Jessica Jones weighs in with some tasty treats that’ll take your book club to the next level. Check out Jessica’s blog and podcast, Food Heaven Made Easy, an online resource for delicious and nutritious plant-based living.
Rasp-Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
From Food Heaven Made Easy
2 cups of frozen strawberries
2 cups of frozen raspberries
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
Optional: 1 tablespoon of agave or honey
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth (it may take stirring a few times and re-blending to get a creamy consistency).
Serve immediately or store it in the freezer for up to 1 month. Enjoy!
If going with the latter, make sure you leave it out for about 30-45 minutes so it can soften up, and then serve.
Header photo by Mehmet Kürşat Değer