November 17, 2023
By: Josslyn Baron
To all my book lovers, if you have not yet read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, you must give it a loving read!
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a Native American botanist, mother, and advocate. Her book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants has completely changed my life. Robin’s beautiful writing appeals to the reader's emotions while simultaneously informing the reader about the Indigenous wisdom of the earth. In addition, she demonstrates how her cultural wisdom elevates her work and understanding of plants while explaining the scientific knowledge behind environmental biology. Her advocacy for plant justice and respect for the land is remarkable; we all should care about it.
The book centers on sweetgrass, a sacred plant for many Indigenous people. The book is split into five sections: Planting Sweetgrass, Tending Sweetgrass, Picking Sweetgrass, Braiding Sweetgrass, and concluding with Burning Sweetgrass, outlining the multiple phases of achieving a sweetgrass braid. Through these devoted elements of working with sweetgrass, Robin brings to life how the environment provides gifts and life lessons.
My favorite part of the book is Tending Sweetgrass. Robin recalls personal experiences with her loved ones that exemplify patience and care—mirroring the patience and care we must have towards our loving environment. Hence, the title “tending” sweetgrass shows that we must tend delicately to nurture appropriately.
Robin Wall Kimmerer