Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Image of the book cover beside a photo of a bookshelf and opened book on a table.

What can I say about this book? It is amazing! Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a book that anyone who loves science, and the natural world should read. Kimmerer, a professor of Environmental Biology and a member of the Potawatomi Nation, writes in a way that welcomes the reader into the world of Indigenous knowledge. Kimmerer adeptly weaves the scientific knowledge that we are all familiar with into the traditional knowledge of her people, leaving the reader with a better sense of why we need to consider ourselves a part of nature, and not conquerors of it. She teaches the reader that not only are the living components of the forest connected to us, but the non-living ones are as well. What I found particularly interesting while reading this book, is that the Potawatomi Nation speaks a language that is 70 per cent verb-based, which assigns an urgency to the “being” of all things in nature, instead of assigning a value to them based on what their economic benefits Have you ever wondered why the strawberry is so sacred? Or questioned why tree sap is such a prized resource? Maybe you just want to gain a better understanding of your connection to nature. Kimmerer’s book is the resource to help you grow your appreciation of the natural world.

About Stuart Ross
Stuart Ross is a teacher in District 14, Kawartha Pine Ridge.

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