‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ gets a second year in Common Reading

Books laid out on table

“Braiding Sweetgrass” is carrying through to its second year in the UO Common Reading program, offering opportunities for the campus community to dive deeper.

As organizers began to look at other options for the 2022-23 academic year, program participants overwhelmingly requested more engagement with the current book.

In “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” author Robin Wall Kimmerer brings together her experience as a botanist and as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in a bestselling memoir that urges humans to reconnect with the rest of the living world.

Organizers have planned new events and activities for the upcoming year that will highlight those voices and dig deeper into the themes of the text. Continuing with the book for a second year also goes hand in hand with the goals for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program, Tribal Climate Change Program and initiatives in the provost's office.

“‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ serves as a beacon of hope as to what sustainability can and should be, an integrative practice that honors Indigenous knowledge and traditions all the while utilizing modern science and technology,” said junior Olivia Draeger in the Environmental Studies Program. “Kimmerer injects such a sense of passion and wonder into her writings, which combined with her academic expertise makes for a refreshing and impactful read.”

All are welcome to participate this year, regardless of whether they participated last year. The goal of the program is to build community and start conversations. For those who want to get involved, the book is available as a free e-book from the university library and as a print copy at a fall 2022 pop-up book distribution event.

There are additional ways to contribute or be involved with the Common Reading program:

The Common Reading advisory group will work with the Center for the Study of Women in Society to select a focus for discussion in the following cycle. Suggestions are welcome and are currently being accepted.

—By Chelsea Hunt, Office of the Provost