KU Common Book 2020-2021: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants: Getting Started: Welcome

How to Use this Guide

Welcome!

KU Libraries staff have created this guide as a learning and teaching tool in alliance with the 2020-2021 KU Common Book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Bodéwadmi,), a member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation. 

Dr. Kimmerer shares the gift and meaning of minidewak (sweet grass) to the Potawatomi people in her storytelling by connecting and educating readers in plant ecology. In doing so, she applies historical and contemporary references from Native Country to provide a glimpse into Indigenous sovereignty and epistemology; traditional lifeways, languages and environmentalism; and the dispossession and resilience to federal Indian assimilation policies.

Readers can use the scholarship within the guide as an introduction to selected themes drawn from the book or in support of their research projects.


The pecan trees and their kin show a capacity for concerted action, for unity of purpose that transcends the individual trees. They ensure somehow that all stand together and thus survive. (pg. 19)

The Council of Pecans (pp. 11-21)

Land Acknowledgement

This land acknowledgement recognizes that Indigenous people are traditional guardians of the land and that there is an enduring relationship between Indigenous peoples and these traditional territories. Our School recognizes, advocates, and supports the sovereignty of the four-federally recognized tribes of Kansas, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.​​

This acknowledgement reminds us to continue advocating for and supporting Native students, staff, and faculty while working towards decolonizing the systems of power and oppression. - KU School of Social Welfare

KU Common Book Program

 Each year, the KU Common Book sparks a campus-wide conversation among students, faculty, and staff. By participating in the program, you will enhance the skills and abilities that are central to success at KU and beyond, particularly critical thinking and engaging in conversations with folks of diverse views and backgrounds. KU Common Book will also enable you to challenge and test your assumptions while giving you multiple frameworks to see and understand the world. This just aligns with our listed program goals, which are:

Every year, Jayhawks read a single book that speaks to the current moment and sparks a campus-wide conversation. The program seeks to:

  • Build community among faculty, staff, and students
  • Create a shared academic experience with a focus on first-year students
  • Encourage intellectual engagement through reading and discussion

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This guide has a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) License.

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This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

The Book

Music Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass

A piece composed for The Braiding Sweetgrass Project: Bringing music and ecology to the concert stage. 

Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian

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Ways to Read or Listen to the Book

eBook Copies

Paper Copies

If you prefer a paper copy, that's an option! We will reach out later this summer to encourage students to request paper copies. If you are faculty or staff interested in including the book in your fall courses, please complete the form at: Get the Book

Streaming Audiobook from LPL

The Lawrence Public Library has the print book and unlimited access to the eAudiobook and eBook on Hoopla. Residents of Northeast Kansas are eligible for a free library card. For more information Get a Card.