Braiding Sweetgrass is a book to focus the eyes, open the heart and stretch the imagination about our appropriate relationships within the natural world. Hundreds of thousands of readers have turned to Kimmerer’s words over the decades since the book’s first publication, finding these tender, poetic, and respectful words, rooted in soil and tradition, intended to teach and celebrate. This is a storyteller’s book; we do well to listen and take the guidance to heart. As Kimmerer tells us, “We have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again.”
"As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.