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.
"As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness--the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural--to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen"--
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.
Who would imagine that plants can become master teachers of a radical new way of seeing and interacting with the world? Plants are dynamic and resilient, living in intimate connection with their environment. This book presents an organic way of knowing modeled after the way plants live. When we slow down, turn our attention to plants, study them carefully, and consciously internalize the way they live, a transformation begins. Our thinking becomes more fluid and dynamic; we realize how we are embedded in the world; we become sensitive and responsive to the contexts we meet; and we learn to thrive within a changing world. These are the qualities our culture needs in order to develop a more sustainable, life-supporting relation to our environment. While it is easy to talk about new paradigms and to critique our current state of affairs, it is not so easy to move beyond the status quo. That’s why this book is crafted as a practical guide to developing a life-infused way of interacting with the world.
Cajete examines the multiple levels of meaning that inform Native astronomy, cosmology, psychology, agriculture, and the healing arts. Unlike the western scientific method, native thinking does not isolate an object or phenomenon in order to understand it, but perceives it in terms of relationship. An understanding of the relationships that bind together natural forces and all forms of life has been fundamental to the ability of indigenous peoples to live for millennia in spiritual and physical harmony with the land. It is clear that the first peoples offer perspectives that can help us work toward solutions at this time of global environmental crisis.
Author: Melissa K. Nelson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2008-01-16
Indigenous leaders and other visionaries suggest solutions to today’s global crisis • Original Instructions are ancient ways of living from the heart of humanity within the heart of nature • Explores the convergence of indigenous and contemporary science and the re-indigenization of the world’s peoples • Includes authoritative indigenous voices, including John Mohawk and Winona LaDuke For millennia the world’s indigenous peoples have acted as guardians of the web of life for the next seven generations. They’ve successfully managed complex reciprocal relationships between biological and cultural diversity. Awareness of indigenous knowledge is reemerging at the eleventh hour to help avert global ecological and social collapse. Indigenous cultural wisdom shows us how to live in peace--with the earth and one another. Original Instructions evokes the rich indigenous storytelling tradition in this collection of presentations gathered from the annual Bioneers conference. It depicts how the world’s native leaders and scholars are safeguarding the original instructions, reminding us about gratitude, kinship, and a reverence for community and creation. Included are more than 20 contemporary indigenous leaders--such as Chief Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, Winona LaDuke, and John Trudell. These beautiful, wise voices remind us where hope lies.
An introduction to Native American medicine explores their healing traditions, philosophy, and methods, explaining how such fundamental therapies as counseling, massage, and more can be integrated with western medicine, how Native Americans understand healing therapies, and how the Native American approach can be interpreted, all from the perspective of a traditional healer. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
Author: Stephen Harrod Buhner
Publisher: Inner Traditions / Bear & Co
Release Date: 2004-10-27
Genre: Health & Fitness
Advocates the use of an intuitive cognition in order to discover plants' medicinal and nutritional purposes, including discussions of the scientific model's limits and how, once cultivated, it can be applied to disciplines such as medicine.
Volume 1: The History and Practice of Indigenous Plant Knowledge Volume 2: The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews Nancy Turner has studied Indigenous peoples' knowledge of plants and environments in northwestern North America for over forty years. In Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge, she integrates her research into a two-volume ethnobotanical tour-de-force. Drawing on information shared by Indigenous botanical experts and collaborators, the ethnographic and historical record, and from linguistics, palaeobotany, archaeology, phytogeography, and other fields, Turner weaves together a complex understanding of the traditions of use and management of plant resources in this vast region. She follows Indigenous inhabitants over time and through space, showing how they actively participated in their environments, managed and cultivated valued plant resources, and maintained key habitats that supported their dynamic cultures for thousands of years, as well as how knowledge was passed on from generation to generation and from one community to another. To understand the values and perspectives that have guided Indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge and practices, Turner looks beyond the details of individual plant species and their uses to determine the overall patterns and processes of their development, application, and adaptation. Volume 1 presents a historical overview of ethnobotonical knowledge in the region before and after European contact. The ways in which Indigenous peoples used and interacted with plants - for nutrition, technologies, and medicine - are examined. Drawing connections between similarities across languages, Turner compares the names of over 250 plant species in more than fifty Indigenous languages and dialects to demonstrate the prominence of certain plants in various cultures and the sharing of goods and ideas between peoples. She also examines the effects that introduced species and colonialism had on the region's Indigenous peoples and their ecologies. Volume 2 provides a sweeping account of how Indigenous organizational systems developed to facilitate the harvesting, use, and cultivation of plants, to establish economic connections across linguistic and cultural borders, and to preserve and manage resources and habitats. Turner describes the worldviews and philosophies that emerged from the interactions between peoples and plants, and how these understandings are expressed through cultures’ stories and narratives. Finally, she explores the ways in which botanical and ecological knowledge can be and are being maintained as living, adaptive systems that promote healthy cultures, environments, and indigenous plant populations. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge both challenges and contributes to existing knowledge of Indigenous peoples' land stewardship while preserving information that might otherwise have been lost. Providing new and captivating insights into the anthropogenic systems of northwestern North America, it will stand as an authoritative reference work and contribute to a fuller understanding of the interactions between cultures and ecological systems.
Author: David Young
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Release Date: 2015-06-09
Genre: Social Science
With the rise of urban living and the digital age, many North American healers are recognizing that traditional medicinal knowledge must be recorded before being lost with its elders. A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle is a historic document, including nearly 200 color photos and maps, in that it is the first in which a native healer has agreed to open his medicine bundle to share in writing his repertoire of herbal medicines and where they are found. Providing information on and photos of medicinal plants and where to harvest them, anthropologist David E. Young and botanist Robert D. Rogers chronicle the life, beliefs, and healing practices of Medicine Man Russell Willier in his native Alberta, Canada. Despite being criticized for sharing his knowledge, Willier later found support in other healers as they began to realize the danger that much of their traditional practices could die out with them. With Young and Rogers, Willier offers his practices here for future generations. At once a study and a guide, A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle touches on how indigenous healing practices can be used to complement mainstream medicine, improve the treatment of chronic diseases, and lower the cost of healthcare. The authors discuss how mining, agriculture, and forestry are threatening the continued existence of valuable wild medicinal plants and the role of alternative healers in a modern health care system. Sure to be of interest to ethnobotanists, medicine hunters, naturopaths, complementary and alternative health practitioners, ethnologists, anthropologists, and academics, this book will also find an audience with those interested in indigenous cultures and traditions.
Author: Nancy J. Turner
Publisher: D & M Publishers
Release Date: 2008-09-01
Genre: Social Science
Renowned ethnobotanist Nancy Turner brings together decades of experience working with First Nations in the Pacific Northwest. In The Earth’s Blanket, she explores the wealth of ecological knowledge and the deep personal connection to the land and its history that is encoded in indigenous stories and lifeways, and asks what they can teach all of us about living in harmony with our surroundings. Scholarly in its thinking but accessible in its writing, The Earth’s Blanket combines first-person research with insightful critiques of Western concepts of environmental management and scientific ecology to propose how systems of traditional ecological knowledge can be recognized and enhanced. It is an important book, a magnum opus with the power to transform our way of thinking about the Earth and our place within it.
Author: Robin James Marles
Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Social Science
This handbook describes the traditional uses by aboriginal people of more than 200 different plants from Canada's boreal forest. It is the result of original ethnobotanical fieldwork in 29 communities across the boreal forest region of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Natural resources of the boreal forest have always been essential to the dietary, medical, economic, and spiritual well-being of First Nations people, but until now much of their traditional environmental knowledge has remained unrecorded and at risk of being lost.
Author: Charles Massy
Publisher: Univ. of Queensland Press
Release Date: 2017-09-13
Is it too late to regenerate the earth? Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our planet. This ground-breaking book will change the way we think of, farm and grow food. Author and radical farmer Charles Massy explores transformative and regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone – from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health – Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. He shows – through evocative stories – how innovative farmers are finding a new way and interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons and biological richness. At stake is not only a revolution in human health and our communities but the very survival of the planet. For farmer, backyard gardener, food buyer, health worker, policy maker and public leader alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our earth. It comprises a powerful and moving paean of hope.
Author: Jonathon Miller Weisberger
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Release Date: 2013-09-17
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit
Chronicling the practices, legends, and wisdom of the vanishing traditions of the upper Amazon, this book reveals the area's indigenous peoples' approach to living in harmony with the natural world. Rainforest Medicine features in-depth essays on plant-based medicine and indigenous science from four distinct Amazonian societies: deep forest and urban, lowland rainforest and mountain. The book is illustrated with unique botanical and cultural drawings by Secoya elder and traditional healer Agustin Payaguaje and horticulturalist Thomas Y. Wang as well as by the author himself. Payaguaje shares his sincere imaginal view into the spiritual life of the Secoya; plates of petroglyphs from the sacred valley of Cotundo relate to an ancient language, and other illustrations show traditional Secoya ayahuasca symbols and indigenous origin myths. Two color sections showcase photos of the plants and people of the region, and include plates of previously unpublished full-color paintings by Pablo Cesar Amaringo (1938-2009), an acclaimed Peruvian artist renowned for his intricate, colorful depictions of his visions from drinking the entheogenic plant brew, ayahuasca ("vine of the soul" in Quechua languages). Today the once-dense mysterious rainforest realms are under assault as the indiscriminate colonial frontier of resource extraction moves across the region; as the forest disappears, the traditional human legacy of sustainable utilization of this rich ecosystem is also being buried under modern realities. With over 20 years experience of ground-level environmental and cultural conservation, author Jonathon Miller Weisberger's commitment to preserving the fascinating, unfathomably precious relics of the indigenous legacy shines through. Chief among these treasures is the "shimmering" "golden" plant-medicine science of ayahuasca or yajé, a rainforest vine that was popularized in the 1950s by Western travelers such as William Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg. It has been sampled, reviled, and celebrated by outsiders ever since. Currently sought after by many in the industrialized West for its powerful psychotropic and life-transforming effects, this sacred brew is often imbibed by visitors to the upper Amazon and curious seekers in faraway venues, sometimes with little to no working knowledge of its principles and precepts. Perceiving that there is an evident need for in-depth information on ayahuasca if it is to be used beyond its traditional context for healing and spiritual illumination in the future, Miller Weisberger focuses on the fundamental knowledge and practices that guide the use of ayahuasca in indigenous cultures. Weaving first-person narrative with anthropological and ethnobotanical information, Rainforest Medicine aims to preserve both the record and ongoing reality of ayahuasca's unique tradition and, of course, the priceless forest that gave birth to these sacred vines. Featuring words from Amazonian shamans--the living torchbearers of these sophisticated spiritual practices--the book stands as testimony to this sacred plant medicine's power in shaping and healing individuals, communities, and nature alike. From the Trade Paperback edition.