It feels appropriate to share my review of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer on Indigenous Peoples' Day. After hearing glowing reviews from many sources for years, I'm grateful Omaha Reads 2023, sponsored by Omaha Public Library, motivated me to read this outstanding non-fiction book.
Describing this volume in three words: nature, respect, reciprocity. Its subtitle: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Dr. Kimmerer is uniquely qualified to write this as a botanist, professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her deep and abiding love and respect for the natural world and Indigenous beliefs is evident on every page of this 400-page book.
This is dense and rich writing that demands to be savored like dark chocolate torte. I'll need repeated readings to absorb all of the wisdom it contains. Reading slow-and-steady with both a print book and the audiobook narrated by the author was a meaningful experience. The descriptions of nature's symbiotic interactions were intriguing and almost magical while the ways white people have damaged the land, its plants, and Indigenous culture were heartbreaking and infuriating.
My library book club chose Braiding Sweetgrass as one of its September selections, and for the first time ever, none of us completed it by the date of our meeting, but all expressed appreciation for the book and pledged to continue reading it. Members highlighted various chapters as personal favorites and some were motivated to consider their home gardens in new ways.
Many thanks to Dr. Kimmerer for sharing your knowledge and wisdom in this and other books, and thank you to Omaha Public Library for fostering city-wide discussions of this impactful book.