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Book Review: “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Updated: May 22, 2023

When I first heard about Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, it was under the premise that it was a great place to start if you're looking to incorporate nature into your spirituality. Upon opening its pages, I found it to be so much more than that!

Robin Wall Kimmerer is an esteemed professor, botanist, ecologist, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In this book, she teaches lessons of generosity, reciprocity, and gratitude. Kimmerer uses science, history, and the language of animism to show the reader that living in harmony with Mother Earth is not only possible, but how we are intended to live. That humans are not a species outside of the natural order, but part of the very system of gift giving and receiving that keeps the cogs moving.

What I found especially inspiring while reading was her commitment to and love for what she calls, "more-than-human people." This is not a stuffy, pompous essay, written by a scientist who knows nothing of plants beyond what they see in their microscope. This is not a wag of the finger from politicians in a press room.

This is a plea. A plea from Kimmerer on behalf of her plant and animal family.

There were also moments that made my heart cry for my fellow humans. I chose this book as my morning out-loud reading each day, with my husband as a listening ear. I had to stop for a moment when Kimmerer talked of elder tribe members being shipped to Carlisle when they were young, and having their mouths washed out with soap for, "speaking that dirty Injun language."

But Kimmerer always finds a way to end the chapter on a note that makes you feel capable of setting out and making change in the world.

Overall, I found the book to be inspirational and motivating. 10 out of 10 stars. Highly HIGHLY recommend!

You can learn more about Robin Wall Kimmerer at

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