By my count, there were 14 of us at the Josephy Center talking about Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, writer Robin Kemmerer’s prayer that we look through scientific classification and dissection to indigenous knowledge of plants–and all of mother earth, For her, the earth–all of it–is gift, and we human beings are bound up in it in what can and should be reciprocal relations of gratitude and care. Sweetgrass grows lush when we harvest it.
People took away different lessons–“I’ll look at the world I tramp in with new eyes”; “we shouldn’t worship growth”; “how can I live more sustainably?”; “this book will get passed on–and we will send copies to friends and children.” And all of us got bound up in this discussion of the “Thanksgiving Address” of the Onondaga, which puts gratitude and sharing the gifts of earth at the center of our lives.
A question to blog readers: what books explore relationships of indigenous people to earth and each other in other parts of the world? In Australia. Asia, and the many regions of Africa?
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