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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


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