About the Author
Robin Wall Kimmerer describes herself as a mother scientist, professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Prior to authoring Braiding Sweetgrass, she released her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Published in 2013, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim and has been recognized by: The New York Times Bestseller, the Washington Post Best Seller, the Los Angeles Times Bestseller, the Best Essay Collection of the Decade Recognition, the Thoreau Prize for Excellence in Nature Writing, among others. She is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology as well as founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and Environment at SUNY.
In the preface to Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer writes, “I could hand you a braid of sweetgrass, as thick and shining as the plait that hung down my grandmother’s back. But it is not mine to give, nor yours to take. Wiingaashk belongs to herself. So I offer, in its place, a braid of stories meant to heal our relationship with the world” (p. x). Kimmerer shares insightful observations and rich stories that draw readers’ attention to the lost relationships between people and plants. Driven by gratitude for how “plants have taken care of our people for so long,” Kimmerer was compelled to write this book and to “speak on their behalf so that people would fall in love with plants again and honor all that they give us” (Potowami.org). She encourages readers to see plants as their teachers rather than subjects and to embrace reciprocal relationships between humans and the natural world. Braiding indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the knowledge of the plants themselves, Kimmerer celebrates the gifts of the earth and invites us to do the same.
Kimmerer is a 2022 Macarthur Fellow.
Photo by Matt Roth.
Read more from Gale in Context: Biography.
Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
My hope and challenge to all of us is that as we give gratitude to the land, could we also shape our lives so that we live in such a way that the land might be grateful for us.