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Braiding Sweetgrass

For those of you who are scientifically inclined, curious about nature, or all around addicted to reading good and real stories, I cannot recommend Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer enough.

I believe this book was brought up in previous conversations here on this circle but I felt like it was worthy of its own post. It’s still on my to read list, but from the excerpt I read in a recent conservation biology class, this book is a treasure.

Native Americans have had their cultural traditions and knowledge oppressed and scoffed at for many generations. Science is thus one of the avenues that not many native Americans are taken seriously in. Journal research for the biological sciences, medical sciences, environmental sciences, etc are very rigorous in the literature that they provide and consume, a procedure that’s very methodical and academic. This quality of science is not a bad thing, but it also underestimates different viewpoints to achieve the same end goal: proper data.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a professor, a scientist, and also an individual of Potawatomi descent, a mother, and of course, a woman. As a botanist she was interested in elevating the voices of her ancestors through the scientific and cultural knowledge of the plants she has grown up with. Indigenous wisdom is underrepresented in the scientific literature and her book Braiding Sweetgrass is a testament to the knowledge of the world around us that goes unspoken.

[Braiding Sweetgrass](https://milkweed.org/book/braiding-sweetgrass) For those of you who are scientifically inclined, curious about nature, or all around addicted to reading good and real stories, I cannot recommend *Braiding Sweetgrass* by Robin Wall Kimmerer enough. I believe this book was brought up in previous conversations here on this circle but I felt like it was worthy of its own post. It’s still on my to read list, but from the excerpt I read in a recent conservation biology class, this book is a treasure. Native Americans have had their cultural traditions and knowledge oppressed and scoffed at for many generations. Science is thus one of the avenues that not many native Americans are taken seriously in. Journal research for the biological sciences, medical sciences, environmental sciences, etc are very rigorous in the literature that they provide and consume, a procedure that’s very methodical and academic. This quality of science is not a bad thing, but it also underestimates different viewpoints to achieve the same end goal: proper data. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a professor, a scientist, and also an individual of Potawatomi descent, a mother, and of course, a woman. As a botanist she was interested in elevating the voices of her ancestors through the scientific and cultural knowledge of the plants she has grown up with. Indigenous wisdom is underrepresented in the scientific literature and her book *Braiding Sweetgrass* is a testament to the knowledge of the world around us that goes unspoken.

4 comments

[–] SarahTheGreen 3 points (+3|-0)

I just checked and my library has a ridiculous number of holds on all their copies/formats. It must be good, I guess.

[–] Rhapsody [OP] 3 points (+3|-0)

It’s very popular! My copy was the last in stock at my local bookstore

[–] alysanne 2 points (+2|-0)

I read this book and it's my favorite non-fiction book of all time. It filled a serious part of the gap between "theoretical analysis of environmental policies" and "my daily life".

What I want to emphasize is how poetic it is. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a story magician with an outstanding ability of spinning words into beautiful threads and weaving different threads into a wholesome, well, whole.

I know this sounds pathetic, but I want to get it off my chest: I wish I could be part of a religion/community with this book as its bible.

[–] Rhapsody [OP] 1 points (+1|-0) Edited

But you can! Talk to people, talk to native people. Join volunteer groups for science practices, try to volunteer for native causes. The indigenous like it when someone is willing to learn from them and not be selfish. It’s not pathetic at all for you to seek something like this out. After all, community has never really been a part of the western world’s function.