Skip to Main Content
University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Common Reading 2021-22: Listen. Learn. Act. Braiding Sweetgrass

A student research guide for learning more about the themes and topics in this year's common reading book. The guide has pages for listen, learn, and act -- each of the themes for the Common Reading.

Welcome & Acknowledgements

Welcome to the UO Libraries Braiding Sweetgrass student research guide. Using the Common Reading theme of Listen. Learn. Act., the UO Libraries presents this guide for you to listen to, learn from, and act in response to the stories and the topics of Robin Wall Kimmerer's book. Robin Wall Kimmerer (Bodéwadmi) is a member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation. To learn more about her tribe, other federally-recognized tribes in the US and in Oregon, visit the Additional Resources page of this guide. Please also review the information about Common Terms in Native American & Indigenous Studies.

Many of the stories and topics in Braiding Sweetgrass are of a sacred nature to the Potawatomi and other Native Peoples. We have endeavored to create this guide with respect and encourage readers of the book to consider the sacred meaning of sweetgrass, other sacred plants, and the stories from the Indigenous tribes in the book and in your local communities. 

Please visit the FAQs section of this guide for more information about how this guide was created.

If you have further suggestions or comments, please submit them through the form below.


About the Book

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Braiding Sweetgrass book cover with coil of sweet grass

Awards & Honors

A New York Times Bestseller
A Washington Post Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Named a “Best Essay Collection of the Decade” by Literary Hub
A Washington Post “2020 Holiday Gift Guide” Recommendation
A Minneapolis Star Tribune “2020 Holiday Book Recommendation”
A Book Riot “Favorite Summer Read of 2020”
A Food Tank Reading Recommendation for Fall 2020

About the Author

"What does it take to abandon what does not work and take the risks of uncertainty? We’ll need courage; we’ll need each other’s hands to hold and faith in the geese to catch us. It would help to sing. The landing might not be soft, but land holds many medicines. Propelled by love, ready to work, we can jump toward the world we want to co-create, with pockets full of seeds. And rhizomes."

Robin Wall Kimmerer 

Robin Wall Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and the ecology of mosses. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students, and to create new models for integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture. She is engaged in programs which introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge

- Faculty profile from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and  Author profile from Yes! Magazine

Book Reviews

"Pushing beyond mainstream green politics or policies of preservation and conservation, Kimmerer expertly outlines the crucial relationships and responsibilities Native peoples have long maintained with the non-human world, relationships and responsibilities that require a fundamentally reciprocal interaction."

"[Kimmerer] offers the hope of human-plant interaction as life-giving reciprocity in which we engage, whether we remember it or not. [...] Rather than the typical environmental message of doom and destruction, she calls us to see our integral part in the world, our 'participatory role'."

"This is the best book I have read on Native science. [...] The reader is drawn into the sheer wonder that arises when we actively do good science. Kimmerer shows us that science can be a path toward kinship, and when we awaken to the intelligences around us, we become more fulfilled human beings."

Related Guides

Honoring Native Peoples and Lands at UO Libraries

The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon, and continue to make important contributions in their communities, at UO, and across the land we now refer to as Oregon.

The UO Libraries has operations and repositories at various locations in Oregon, and wishes to acknowledge the traditional homelands of the Kalapuyan peoples (Eugene area); Chinook, Clackamas, Kalapuya, Kathlamet, Molalla, Multnomah, Tualatin, and other tribes and bands (Portland area); and the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw (Charleston area). [...]

Listen to the "Honoring Native Peoples & Lands" Statement

Need Help?

Chat Email Phone

Ways to Read or Listen to the Book

eBook Options

For those who would like to access an electronic version of the book. 

Print Copies

For those who would like a physical copy of the book. 

Audiobook Options

For those who would like to listen to the book. 

Audiobook on CD

Streaming Audiobook from EPL

Eugene Public Library logoEugene Public Library provides unlimited access to the eBook and eAudiobook on Hoopla and Library2Go (via the Libby or OverDrive apps) as well as the print book. Anyone who lives within City of Eugene limits can get a free library card!

Audiobook through Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library logoStudents at our PDX campus may be able to get a Multnomah Library Card.

Copies near OIMB at Coos Bay

Coos Bay Public Library logoStudents at UO's OIMB campus in Charleston may be able to get a Coos Bay Public Library card.

Need an Accessible Alternate Format Version?

If any of the available formats do not meet your needs, please email with an accessible alternate format request that specifies your preferred format.


Having Trouble?

For any access issues or questions, please get in touch with your librarians here at UO Libraries!

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) License

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

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) License logo

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.