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Braiding sweetgrass
2013
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
Nature
Science
Sociology
Topics
Natural history
Nature
Man and nature
Ecology
Botany
Native American culture
Essayists
Setting
- United States
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Kimmerer (environmental & forest biology, State Univ. of New York Coll. of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse) was awarded the 2005 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing for her first book, Gathering Moss. In these beautifully written essays, she explores the natural world, wedding the scientific method with the traditional knowledge of indigenous people. Kimmerer herself is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Bringing together memoir, history, and science, she examines the botanical world, from pecans to sweetgrass to lichens to the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash), also describing moments of her past, such as boiling down maple sap to make syrup with her children. She shares her efforts to reclaim her culture through studying the language and learning to weave baskets. Intertwined throughout is the history of the injustices perpetrated against indigenous people and the land. Kimmerer writes of investigating the natural world with her students and her efforts to protect and restore plants, animals, and land. A trained scientist who never loses sight of her Native heritage, she speaks of approaching nature with gratitude and giving back in return for what we receive. VERDICT Anyone who enjoys reading about natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love this book.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

With deep compassion and graceful prose, botanist and professor of plant ecology Kimmerer (Gathering Moss) encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing storyteller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live. In such a culture, "Everyone knows that gifts will follow the circle of reciprocity and flow back to you again... The grass in the ring is trodden down in a path from gratitude to reciprocity. We dance in a circle, not in a line." Kimmerer recalls the ways that pecans became a symbol of abundance for her ancestors: "Feeding guests [pecans] around the big table recalls the trees' welcome to our ancestors when they were lonesome and tired and so far from home." She reminds readers that "we are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep... Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put into the universe will always come back." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss , was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. <br> <br> As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass , Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation." As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.<br>
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Planting Sweetgrass
Skywoman Fallingp. 3
The Council of Pecansp. 11
The Gift of Strawberriesp. 22
An Offeringp. 33
Asters and Goldenrodp. 39
Learning the Grammar of Animacyp. 48
Tending Sweetgrass
Maple Sugar Moonp. 63
Witch Hazelp. 72
A Mother's Workp. 82
The Consolation of Water Liliesp. 98
Allegiance to Gratitudep. 105
Picking Sweetgrass
Epiphany in the Beansp. 121
The Three Sistersp. 128
Wisgaak Gokpenagen: A Black Ash Basketp. 141
Mishaps Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grassp. 156
Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guidep. 167
The Honorable Harvestp. 175
Braiding Sweetgrass
In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Placep. 205
The Sound of Silverbellsp. 216
Sitting in a Circlep. 223
Burning Cascade Headp. 241
Putting Down Rootsp. 254
Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the Worldp. 268
Old-Growth Childrenp. 277
Witness to the Rainp. 293
Burning Sweetgrass
Windigo Footprintsp. 303
The Sacred and the Superfundp. 310
People of Corn, People of Lightp. 341
Collateral Damagep. 348
Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Firep. 360
Defeating Windigop. 374
Epilogue: Returning the Giftp. 380
Notesp. 385
Sourcesp. 387
Acknowledgmentsp. 389
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