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Braiding Sweetgrass Blog | Part 2: Gift, Gratitude and Responsibility

by Jacob Smit on 2023-11-20T08:19:00-08:00 in Anthropology, Biology, Cultural Anthropology, Culture Studies, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Indigenous Studies, Marine and Conservation Biology | 0 Comments


Thank you for joining us in discussing this year’s common text, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. In Part 1: Reciprocity and Communalism we began by offering additional methods of exploring the themes presented in Braiding Sweetgrass and will continue to do so in Part 2. Please share your insights with us and your peers. 

Kimmerer presents a holistic approach of using all the resources available to us in both indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge––and the benefits of using both. At Seattle University, we aim to expand our perspectives on cultural identity, recognize voices that are unheard or silenced, and always question what’s presented as an absolute. Open-mindedness, advocacy, and inquisitiveness enrich our learning and lives as well as those around us.  

Please join our three-part blog series discussing several of the themes from Braiding Sweetgrass. Share your thoughts with us in-person at the Library and in the comment section below, or if these serve simply as internal prompts for you, your friends, and peers that is also a wonderful outcome. You will also find suggested titles for further reading below; these reflect the Library’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.  

We look forward to your contributions and thank you for reading! 


Braiding Sweetgrass Blog | Part Two: Gift, Gratitude and Responsibility 

The theme of Gift, Gratitude and Responsibility in Braiding Sweetgrass invites readers to reflect on how we engage with the world through a lens of Native American stories and allegories. The author presents the challenges faced in protecting the earth while also sharing positive outcomes of instances where humans live in harmony with the natural world––a relationship of environmental symbiosis.  

  • What does responsible consumption look like to you? 

Humans impact on the natural world is often presented as imagining earth either with or without humans. Without humans, the natural world would still exist, and some may say thrive. Others may state that the resources of the world are here for us to use at will. What the author presents to the reader is that there are many instances where natural resources benefit from human interaction.  

  • Do you see the earth as property or gift? Is the natural world made better or worse by human interaction? 


Discover related titles in the current Library display inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass (LEML floor 3) 

Pulling in elements of indigenous wisdom, ethnobotany, nature-bathing, native plants and ecology, nature-focused philosophy, indigenous culture and connection with the earth, as well as information about local indigenous communities, and fiction by indigenous authors––you're sure to find something you'll love. 


Look for new books purchased for the Library collection supporting themes of cultural diversity, sustainability and more:   

Walking on our sacred path: indigenous American women affirming identity and activism 

Gifted Earth: the ethnobotany of the Quinault and neighboring tribes 

Sustaining natures: an environmental anthropology reader 


Explore the Library’s online catalog under the following subject headings or combinations of headings: 

Indigenous peoples; Mexican Americans; Pakistani women; Black people; Coast Salish Indians 


Indigenous art 

Conservation; Conservation and Protection;  

Corporate culture  

Environmental education 

Environmental protection-religious aspects 

Food habits 

Land use 

Manufacturing and processes – environmental aspects 


Sustainability; sustainable development; sustainable urban development 


Human ecology 


Plants; edible plants; medicinal plants 


Cover photo by Jacob Smithers 

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