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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.

The Skywoman story, shared by the original people's throughout the Greak Lakes, is a constant star in the constellation of teachings we call the Original Instructions. These are not 'instructions' like commandments, though, or rules; rather they are like a compass: they provide an orientation but not a map.

-Braiding Sweetgrass, Skywoman Falling (p.7).

Music inspired by the book

Cheryl L’Hirondelle: "gchi-miigwech maskihkiya"

Métis/Cree singer-songwriter Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s "gchi-miigwech maskihkiya" music video was directed by Shane Belcourt, produced by Michelle St. John and Jeremy Edwardes, shot by Sean Stiller, and edited by Francis Laliberte. The video features art work projects by acclaimed Métis artist Christi Belcourt. The work was inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. (This music video is an excerpt from the TV documentary series AMPLIFY.)


Watch the video:
Singer-songwriter Cheryl L'Hirondelle discusses her inspiration and songwriting process for creating "gchi-miigwech maskihkiya” in this excerpt from the documentary series AMPLIFY:

Asha Srinivasan: Braiding: Lessons from Braiding Sweetgrass for Oboe and Electronics

Braiding: Lessons from Braiding Sweetgrass for Oboe and Electronics is a 10-minute work for oboe, electronics, and natural sounds, based on the writing of Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass. It was composed by Asha Srinivasan and commissioned by oboist Sara Fraker, who premiered it in 2017.


Listen to the recording:
View the score (click image to view):

Title page of score to Asha Srinivasan's musical composition Braiding

Skywoman, Moment in Flight by Bruce King (Oneida)

"Skywoman, Moment in Flight" by Bruce King


Image of a portrait, "Skywoman, Moment in Flight" by Bruce King (Oneida) from the SUNY College for Environmental Science and Forestry website

"The mythic story of Skywoman Falling is the heartbeat of Braiding Sweetgrass, both an opening and a closing, enfolding the stories between. The version shared in the first edition is the most widely told account of the epic, but it is not the only one. There is always the deep diving Muskrat and the earth on Turtle’s back. The rescue by the Geese and the gifts of the animals are a constant, as are the seeds Skywoman brings, initiating the covenant of reciprocity between newcomer humans and our ancient relatives. The detail that varies from one telling to another is just how Skywoman finds herself falling from one world to the next. The common version is that she slips, the earth giving way at the edge of the hole in the sky where the great Tree of Life had fallen. It is an accident, with mythic consequences — and so it begins."

Podcast Episodes

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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!

Podcast Shows

Indigenous 150+ Podcast Series logo

Indigenous 150+

"The Indigenous150+ Youth Ambassador program brought together 21 young adults from across [Canada], both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to learn how to moderate cross cultural conversations and basic podcasting skills.
Through the training programme they learned protocols for working with Indigenous communities, how to recognize and address harmful stereotypes, all the while mastering audio recording, editing and storytelling skills.
Together they have created over 40 episodes, hosting conversations with knowledge keepers, community leaders, artists and influencers who share their stories.
Join us in celebrating Indigenous voices and addressing harmful stereotypes."

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All My Relations

"All My Relations is a podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) to explore our relationships— relationships to land, to our creatural relatives, and to one another."

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Plants of the Gods: Hallucinogens, Healing, Culture and Conservation

“Plants of the Gods: Hallucinogens, Healing, Culture and Conservation” is a new and unique podcast focusing on the hallucinogenic plants and fungi whose impact on world culture and religion – and healing potential - is only now beginning to be appreciated as never before. Unlike other podcasts relating to these issues, “Plants of the Gods” is hosted by renowned ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin, a Harvard and Yale-trained scientist who has been studying the healing plants and shamans of the Amazon rainforest for almost four decades. An award-winning scientist and best selling author, Dr, Plotkin is a spellbinding storyteller who will be speaking from personal experience and will be joined by other leaders in the field.

Ojibwe Word of the Day podcast cover image

Ojibwe Word of the Day

In each episode of this podcast (adapted from his popular YouTube and Facebook video series), James Vukelich Kaagegaabaw teaches one word, phrase, or concept from the Ojibwe language, and explores the Ojibwe spiritual and cultural perspectives that inform that term. 

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This Land

This Land is an award-winning documentary podcast about Native American tribal rights, treaties, and U.S. case law, hosted by Cherokee journalist Rebecca Nagle. Season 1 explored the history of tribal land allotments in Oklahoma and a 1999 murder that ultimately led to the landmark 2020 Supreme Court case McGirt v. Oklahoma, in which the court ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma remains Native American land. Season 2 investigates how the far right is using Native children to quietly dismantle American Indian tribes, through legal precedents aimed at challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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Coffee With My Ma

Kanien’kehá:ka actress Kaniehti:io Horn (Letterkenny, The Man in the High Castle) interviews her mom, Kahentinetha Horn, about her experiences as a First Nations activist in Canada, founding Canada's Indian Legal Defence Committee, and working with Marlon Brando in the 1970s.

Metis in Space podcast cover image

Métis in Space

Métis In Space hilariously deconstructs the science fiction genre through a decolonial lens. Join hosts Molly Swain & Chelsea Vowel as they review a sci-fi movie or television episode featuring Indigenous Peoples, tropes & themes, from a decolonial perspective.