Braiding Sweetgrass-Midwest Connections

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


An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor MC.December.Braiding-Sweetgrass.Jacket-150x231of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.

“There are times when a simple category doesn’t do a book justice. Saying that Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass is nature writing doesn’t quite capture what she does in this treasure of a book. It’s rare to find a book that teaches you scientifically and also nurtures you philosophically–but that’s what this is. Upon finishing I read the epilogue twice just to allow her wisdom and kindness and care for this world to soak in a little more.” —Hans Weyandt, Micawbers Books
“Robin Wall Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most–the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.” —Jane Goodall, author of Seeds of Hope and My Life with the Chimpanzees
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.


Robin Kimmerer
‘s writings have appeared in OrionWhole Terrain, and Stone Canoe amongst many others. She lives in Fabius, NY where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and where she is also the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

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