“Robin’s generous spirit and rich scholarship invited the audience to fundamentally reimagine their relationship to the natural world.” — Queen’s University

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. In 2022, Braiding Sweetgrass was adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith. This new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us.

Robin tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. In 2022 she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF, an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Robin’s Authors Outside Profile: 

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Zest Books |
Nonfiction

Drawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer demonstrated how all living things–from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen–provide us with gifts and lessons every day in her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass. Adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, this new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Nicole Neidhardt, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults brings Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Milkweed Editions |
Nonfiction

New York Times Bestseller

Washington Post Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named a “Best Essay Collection of the Decade” by Literary Hub

A Book Riot “Favorite Summer Read of 2020”

A Food Tank Fall 2020 Reading Recommendation

 

Updated with a new introduction from Robin Wall Kimmerer, the special edition of Braiding Sweetgrass, reissued in honor of the fortieth anniversary of Milkweed Editions, celebrates the book as an object of meaning that will last the ages. Beautifully bound with a new cover featuring an engraving by Tony Drehfal, this edition includes a bookmark ribbon and five brilliantly colored illustrations by artist Nate Christopherson. In increasingly dark times, we honor the experience that more than 350,000 readers in North America have cherished about the book–gentle, simple, tactile, beautiful, even sacred–and offer an edition that will inspire readers to gift it again and again, spreading the word about scientific knowledge, indigenous wisdom, and the teachings of plants.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings–asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass–offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

Gathering Moss

Oregon State University Press |
Nonfiction

Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book is not an identification guide, nor is it a scientific treatise. Rather, it is a series of linked personal essays that will lead general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods and rednecks. Kimmerer clearly and artfully explains the biology of mosses, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

Gathering Moss will appeal to a wide range of readers, from bryologists to those interested in natural history and the environment, Native Americans, and contemporary nature and science writing.

Authors Unbound

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

This talk explores the dominant themes of Braiding Sweetgrass which include cultivation of a reciprocal relationship with the living world. Listeners are invited to consider what we might learn if we understood plants as our teachers, from both a scientific and an indigenous perspective. The talk includes a look at the stories and experiences that shaped the author. This talk can be customized to reflect the interests of the particular audience.

Authors Unbound

What Does the Earth Ask of Us?

We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth and yet we are tied to institutions which relentlessly ask what more can we take? Drawing upon both scientific and indigenous knowledges, this talk explores the covenant of reciprocity, how might we use the gifts and the responsibilities of human people in support of mutual thriving in a time of ecological crisis.

Authors Unbound

The Honorable Harvest: Indigenous knowledge for sustainability

Honorable Harvest is a talk designed for a general audience which focuses upon indigenous philosophy and practices which contribute to sustainability and conservation. It offers approaches to how indigenous knowledge might contribute to a transformation in how we view our relationship to consumption and move us away from a profoundly dishonorable relationship with the Earth. This talk can be customized to reflect the interests of the particular audience

Authors Unbound

“We the People”: expanding the circle of citizenship for public lands

This talk is designed to critique the notions of “We, the People” through the lens of the indigenous worldview, by highlighting an indigenous view of what land means, beyond property rights to land, toward responsibility for land. The talk raises the question of whose voices are heard in decision making about land stewardship, and how indigenous voices are often marginalized. It raises questions of what does justice for land and indigenous people look like and calls upon listeners to contribute to that work of creating justice. This talk can be customized to reflect the interests of the particular audience.

Authors Unbound

Justice for the Land

How we understand the meaning of land, colors our relationship to the natural world, in ecology, economics and ethics. Indigenous knowledge frameworks dramatically expand the conventional understanding of lands, from natural resources to relatives, from land rights to land responsibilities. We consider what enacting justice for the land might look like, through restoration, reparations and Rights of Nature.

Authors Unbound

Learning the Grammar of Animacy: land, love, language

Authors Unbound

The Personhood of Plants

Authors Unbound

Restoration and reciprocity: healing relationships with the natural world

Ecological restoration can be understood as an act of reciprocity, in return for the gifts of the earth. This talk explores the ecological and ethical imperatives of healing the damage we have inflicted on our land and waters. We trace the evolution of restoration philosophy and practice and consider how integration of indigenous knowledge can expand our understanding of restoration from the biophysical to the biocultural. Reciprocal restoration includes not only healing the land, but our relationship to land. In healing the land, we are healing ourselves.

Authors Unbound

The Fortress, the River and the Garden: a new metaphor for knowledge symbiosis

This talk is designed primarily for an audience focused on education and how we might decolonize education by integrating indigenous knowledge as a complement to western scientific knowledge. The talk examines the relationship between three metaphors for types of knowledge. The Fortress is the metaphor for the dominance of western science and its virtual erasure of indigenous knowledge, the River refers to indigenous models of autonomy and coexistence between western and indigenous knowledge and the Garden examines the potential for a productive symbiosis between western and indigenous knowledges which could grow together in complementarity. This talk can be customized to reflect the interests of the particular audience.

Authors Unbound

Land Justice: Engaging Indigenous Knowledge for Land Care

What might Land Justice look like? Dr. Kimmerer will explore Indigenous perspectives on land conservation, from biocultural restoration to Land Back.  This discussion invites listeners to consider how engaging Traditional Ecological Knowledge contributes to justice for land and people.

Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest: Robin Kimmerer at TEDxSitka

Robin Kimmerer – Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass | Bioneers

Questions for a Resilient Future: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Book Lovers Ball 2020 presented by Milkweed Editions

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Honors, Awards & Recognition

NYT Bestseller
Midwest Book Award Winner
Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
John Burroughs Association

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