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

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

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

473 Pages ·2017·2.03 MB ·English

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

B R A I D I N G S W E E T G R A S S Also by Robin Wall Kimmerer


Gathering Moss B R A I D I N G


S W E E T G R A S S


Robin Wall Kimmerer


© 2013, Text by Robin Wall Kimmerer


All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this


book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher:


Milkweed Editions, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 300, Minneapolis, Minnesota


55415.


(800) 520-6455


www.milkweed.org


Published 2013 by Milkweed Editions


Printed in Canada


Cover design by Gretchen Achilles / Wavetrap Design


Cover photo © Teresa Carey


Author photo by Dale Kakkak


13 14 15 16 17 5 4 3 2 1


First Edition


Milkweed Editions, an independent nonprofit publisher, gratefully acknowledges sustaining


support from the Bush Foundation; the Patrick and Aimee Butler Foundation; the Dougherty


Family Foundation; the Driscoll Foundation; the Jerome Foundation; the Lindquist & Vennum


Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State


Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and


cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota; the National


Endowment for the Arts; the Target Foundation; and other generous contributions from


foundations, corporations, and individuals. For a full listing of Milkweed Editions supporters,


please visit www.milkweed.org.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Kimmerer, Robin Wall.


Braiding sweetgrass : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants /


Robin Wall Kimmerer. — First edition.


pages cm


Summary: “As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands


the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she


senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In


Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness—the analytic and the


emotional, the scientific and the cultural—to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring


people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never


stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen”—Provided by publisher.


ISBN 978-1-57131-335-5 (hardback : alkaline paper)


1. Indian philosophy. 2. Indigenous peoples—Ecology. 3. Philosophy of nature.


4. Human ecology—Philosophy. 5. Nature—Effect of human beings on. 6. Human-plant


relationships. 7. Botany—Philosophy. 8. Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 9. Potawatomi Indians—


Biography. 10. Potawatomi Indians—Social life and customs. I. Title.


E98.P5K56 2013


305.597—dc23


2013012563


Milkweed Editions is committed to ecological stewardship. We strive to align our book


production practices with this principle, and to reduce the impact of our operations in the


environment. We are a member of the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit coalition of


publishers, manufacturers, and authors working to protect the world’s endangered forests


and conserve natural resources. Braiding Sweetgrass was printed on acid-free 100 %


postconsumer-waste paper by Friesens Corporation. For all the Keepers of the Fire


my parents


my daughters


and my grandchildren


yet to join us in this beautiful place CONTENTS


Preface


PLANTING SWEETGRASS


Skywoman Falling


The Council of Pecans


The Gift of Strawberries


An Offering


Asters and Goldenrod


Learning the Grammar of Animacy


TENDING SWEETGRASS


Maple Sugar Moon


Witch Hazel


A Mother’s Work


The Consolation of Water Lilies


Allegiance to Gratitude


PICKING SWEETGRASS


Epiphany in the Beans The Three Sisters


Wisgaak Gok penagen: A Black Ash Basket


Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass


Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide


The Honorable Harvest


BRAIDING SWEETGRASS


In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Place


The Sound of Silverbells


Sitting in a Circle


Burning Cascade Head


Putting Down Roots


Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the World


Old-Growth Children


Witness to the Rain


BURNING SWEETGRASS


Windigo Footprints


The Sacred and the Superfund


People of Corn, People of Light


Collateral Damage


Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Fire


Defeating Windigo


Epilogue: Returning the Gift Notes


Sources


Acknowledgments


B R A I D I N G S W E E T G R A S S Also by Robin Wall Kimmerer


Gathering Moss B R A I D I N G


S W E E T G R A S S


Robin Wall Kimmerer


© 2013, Text by Robin Wall Kimmerer


All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this


book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher:


Milkweed Editions, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 300, Minneapolis, Minnesota


55415.


(800) 520-6455


www.milkweed.org


Published 2013 by Milkweed Editions


Printed in Canada


Cover design by Gretchen Achilles / Wavetrap Design


Cover photo © Teresa Carey


Author photo by Dale Kakkak


13 14 15 16 17 5 4 3 2 1


First Edition


Milkweed Editions, an independent nonprofit publisher, gratefully acknowledges sustaining


support from the Bush Foundation; the Patrick and Aimee Butler Foundation; the Dougherty


Family Foundation; the Driscoll Foundation; the Jerome Foundation; the Lindquist & Vennum


Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State


Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and


cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota; the National


Endowment for the Arts; the Target Foundation; and other generous contributions from


foundations, corporations, and individuals. For a full listing of Milkweed Editions supporters,


please visit www.milkweed.org.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Kimmerer, Robin Wall.


Braiding sweetgrass : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants /


Robin Wall Kimmerer. — First edition.


pages cm


Summary: “As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands


the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she


senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In


Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness—the analytic and the


emotional, the scientific and the cultural—to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring


people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never


stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen”—Provided by publisher.


ISBN 978-1-57131-335-5 (hardback : alkaline paper)


1. Indian philosophy. 2. Indigenous peoples—Ecology. 3. Philosophy of nature.


4. Human ecology—Philosophy. 5. Nature—Effect of human beings on. 6. Human-plant


relationships. 7. Botany—Philosophy. 8. Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 9. Potawatomi Indians—


Biography. 10. Potawatomi Indians—Social life and customs. I. Title.


E98.P5K56 2013


305.597—dc23


2013012563


Milkweed Editions is committed to ecological stewardship. We strive to align our book


production practices with this principle, and to reduce the impact of our operations in the


environment. We are a member of the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit coalition of


publishers, manufacturers, and authors working to protect the world’s endangered forests


and conserve natural resources. Braiding Sweetgrass was printed on acid-free 100 %


postconsumer-waste paper by Friesens Corporation. For all the Keepers of the Fire


my parents


my daughters


and my grandchildren


yet to join us in this beautiful place CONTENTS


Preface


PLANTING SWEETGRASS


Skywoman Falling


The Council of Pecans


The Gift of Strawberries


An Offering


Asters and Goldenrod


Learning the Grammar of Animacy


TENDING SWEETGRASS


Maple Sugar Moon


Witch Hazel


A Mother’s Work


The Consolation of Water Lilies


Allegiance to Gratitude


PICKING SWEETGRASS


Epiphany in the Beans The Three Sisters


Wisgaak Gok penagen: A Black Ash Basket


Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass


Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide


The Honorable Harvest


BRAIDING SWEETGRASS


In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Place


The Sound of Silverbells


Sitting in a Circle


Burning Cascade Head


Putting Down Roots


Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the World


Old-Growth Children


Witness to the Rain


BURNING SWEETGRASS


Windigo Footprints


The Sacred and the Superfund


People of Corn, People of Light


Collateral Damage


Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Fire


Defeating Windigo


Epilogue: Returning the Gift Notes


Sources


Acknowledgments


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