Author and “genius grant” winner Robin Wall Kimmerer will speak at two events on Nov. 1 on the topic of engaging Indigenous knowledge to care for the land.

‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ author to visit campus Nov. 1

Ecologist, MacArthur “genius grant” winner and bestselling author Robin Wall Kimmerer, who has written about Indigenous people’s relationship with the land, will visit campus on Nov. 1.

Kimmerer is the author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” which focuses on botany and the relationship to the land in Native American traditions.

Published in 2013, the essay collection has won bestseller awards from publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2022 and addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature” in 2015.

Kimmerer will participate in three events open to the public during her visit.

“These events with Robin are a great opportunity for everyone to rethink our relationships with land and the environment,” said Kimberly Anderson, assistant director of the Campus Sustainability Office, which has spearheaded Kimmerer’s visit. “We’re excited for the Cornell community to learn more about the intersections of sustainability and justice, and also discover ways to integrate indigenous wisdom into our campus sustainability practices.”

First, Kimmerer will deliver a seminar, “Land Justice: Engaging Indigenous Knowledge For Land Care,” 12:20-1:10 p.m. in Warren 401. The seminar will be livestreamed and is co-hosted by the Department of Global Development and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Kimmerer will also lead a public professional-development session on ecological restoration and how it can be understood as an act of reciprocity at 3:30 p.m. in Warren 401, which will also be livestreamed.

And she will hold a book talk at Hans Bethe House on West Campus at 7:15 p.m., with a limited number of seats open to the public. “Braiding Sweetgrass” is available as an e-book through the Cornell University Library; a limited number of complimentary copies are available through the Office of Campus Sustainability, one of the sponsors of Kimmerer’s visit. Registration to participate in a virtual book club, which includes weekly prompts and a virtual session ahead of the book talk, is now open.

Kimmerer is interested in not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in botany from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Wisconsin, and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Kelly Merchan is a communications specialist in the Department of Global Development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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Abby Kozlowski