About Braiding Sweetgrass
Braiding Sweetgrass, a book published by Robin Wall Kimmerer, focuses on the role of Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to Western mainstream scientific methodologies.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants was published in 2013 by Potawatomi professor Robin Wall Kimmerer, about the role of Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to Western mainstream scientific methodologies.
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 lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our relationship with the rest of the living world.
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―trees, strawberries, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten it today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. 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.
Braiding Sweetgrass explores reciprocal relationships, a key term from the book, between humans and the land, with a focus on the role of plants and botany in both Native American and Western traditions and consists of five essays dedicated to exploring these topics in detail. The book received largely positive reviews, appearing on several bestseller lists.
The book is about botany and the relationship to the land in Native American traditions. Kimmerer writes about her personal experiences working with plants and reuniting with her people’s cultural traditions. She also presents the history of plants and botany from a scientific perspective.