Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Hardcover, 391 pages

English language

Published Oct. 15, 2013 by Milkweed Editions.

ISBN:
978-1-57131-335-5
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OCLC Number:
868925013

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4 stars (68 reviews)

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 reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.

14 editions

A look through the lenses of the Potawatomi

3 stars

This book is a golden opportunity to get to know a bit of First Nations world view and relationship with the environment, their mythology, traditions, even nuggets of linguistics. For this reason alone I'd recommend this as a read for anyone who hasn't made such contact before.

Some parts are definitely very emotional and touching, specially regarding the sorrows brought upon the land and people subject to such destruction brought by colonizers. I can't say it was a very engaging read, though. Some chapters felt very loosely connected, some sections read like rambling or very superficial criticism, borderline naturalistic platitudes. Reminded me a lot of the idealistic Brazilian Indian Romanticism, but in a modern essayist format with a touch of scientific backing special to the author.

Inspirational!

5 stars

I missed out on the opportunity to borrow this book, highly recommended by a beautiful friend, in its original publication a couple of years ago so almost-literally leapt at the chance to review a NetGalley copy of the new Penguin publication. I'm so glad that I did! Robin Wall Kimmerer's life philosophies and the way in which she looks to plant wisdom for answers to human social and environmental problems are exactly what we need to be exploring right now, especially as people want new lifestyle choices in the wake of the epidemic. I began reading Braiding Sweetgrass wondering if this might be too 'hippy' a book for me to really get into. Within a hundred pages I was totally engrossed in every word Kimmerer wrote and frequently found myself nodding in enthusiastic agreement with her.

Kimmerer discusses ancient Native American ideas and practices, showing how the ideas behind them …

Care in a time of crisis

4 stars

Robin Wall Kimmerer is undoubtedly one of the best writers and storytellers on the topic of human life in the nonhuman (natural) world. Braiding Sweetgrass takes all of her best ability as a writer and converts it into an epic object that blends her scientific self as a botanist, her pedagogical self as an educator, and her storytelling self as a Potowatomi native American. None of these selves is a whole, and this entanglement of identity is central to how Wall Kimmerer explores environmental damage, the postcolonial American landscape, healing and our relationship with the natural world.

Central to the book is the argument that we cannot repair environmental damage without m,bracing care and love of the natural world. Particular criticism is levelled at the scientific institutes and western colonial practices, and their dismissal of love as part of life. The chapters blend native American myth/story with contemporary environmental and …

Review of 'Braiding Sweetgrass' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Das Buch ist sehr spirituell, was auf seine Weise spannend sein kann; leider hat mich der Teil am Wenigsten interessiert. Die Schwächen einer Lehre, dass man ,Balance' suchen müsse in Allem, zeigen sich dann in so Aussagen wie, Männer und Frauen seien komplementär zueinander. Ein sehr großer Teil waren einfach poetische Naturbeschreibungen, was durchaus seinen Reiz haben kann; ich war aber nicht in der Stimmung.

Review of 'Braiding Sweetgrass' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Beautifully written essays. This was a slow listen, but good and important. It presents a different, sustainable approach to how we should relate to the Earth. Instead of exploiting the Earth and commoditizing its resources, she urges us to cultivate a culture of gratitude and an economy of the commons.

That said: I listened to one essay between other things I was reading. This isn't the type of book I could imagine reading from cover to cover.

Review of 'Braiding Sweetgrass' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

It is so amazingly fantastically validating and wonderful to see how Kimmerer, who is an honest to god scientist, can hold the truths of science and the truths that the world and all its creatures are beautiful generous beings that we need to rebuild a relationship of care and reciprocity with. That these truths strengthen eachother rather than conflict. God I want everyone to read this book.

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Subjects

  • Kimmerer, Robin Wall
  • Indian philosophy
  • Ethnoecology
  • Philosophy of nature
  • Human ecology--Philosophy
  • Nature--Effect of human beings on
  • Human-plant relationships
  • Botany--Philosophy
  • Potawatomi Indians--Biography
  • Potawatomi Indians--Social life and customs

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