Common Reading author Robin Wall Kimmerer to speak at EMU

Robin Wall Kimmerer

'Braiding Sweetgrass' book coverRobin Wall Kimmerer, State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, will speak at the Erb Memorial Union Ballroom at noon on Jan. 24.

Kimmerer is the author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” the University of Oregon Common Reading selection for the 2021-22 academic year. In her book, Kimmerer writes a series of ecological essays that blend her scientific background, Indigenous insight and firsthand experiences to explore the relationship between humans and the land. 

“’Braiding Sweetgrass’ weaves our hearts, spirits and minds into a search for that life-affirming knowledge that lies within our reach if we are just willing to listen,” said Alai Reyes-Santos, law school professor of practice, in a limited edition of the book that features reviews from members of the UO community.  

Learn more about how to receive a copy of the book on the UO Common Reading website.

Kimmerer’s talk will include topics of Indigenous knowledge, western science, sustainability and rebuilding a connection with earth. It will also feature a Q&A at the end.  

Kimmerer said she hopes that attendees will leave with a renewed sense of the ways that humans can be medicine for the earth, living as if we were ecological citizens, who return the gifts of the earth, not just consumers. 

“Inevitably, deep attention brings you to a place of understanding the world as gift—not as commodity—and this realization incites a desire to give a gift in return. Giving back to the land, entering into reciprocity is a way of creating relationship with the earth. Humility is also a big part of knowing the land in this way, understanding that the land can be our teacher if we’re able to listen.” 

The author’s visit emphasizes the UO’s commitment to being an institution that leads in Indigenous knowledge, research and teaching practices.

Members of the UO community and Native and Indigenous members of the public are invited to join the in-person event. Attendees must register online and provide proof of vaccination upon entrance to the event. 

The talk will also be livestreamed, which will be available to the UO community and the public. Register for the livestream to receive a link via email.  

In addition to the speaking event, Kimmerer will also be visiting numerous groups on campus. 

-by Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications