Monday April 5 at 7:00 pm
Join the Seabeck Book Club as we contemplate “The Three Sisters” as shared by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. “Plants tell their stories not by what they say, but by what they do. … What if you had no language at all and yet there was something you need to say? Wouldn’t you dance it? Wouldn’t you act it out? Wouldn’t your every movement tell the story?” So how did squash, corn, and beans become sisters?
The Seabeck Book Club is contemplating the knowledge shared by Professor Kimmerer not just for current meditation but also to ready our minds to participate in the Seabeck Virtual Summer Camp 2021 on indigenous peoples and immigrants.
Monday April 12 at 7:00 pm
Many interesting ideas are laid out for us in Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. For instance, we learn in “Wisgaak Gokpenagen: A Black Ash Basket” that basket weaving with black ash is different from using willow. You start with the tree. “[I]t’s not enough to simply find black ash; it has to be the right one–a tree ready to be a basket. An ideal basket ash has a straight, clear bole with no branches in the lower trunk. …When [John’s] found the right one, the harvest begins. Not with a saw, though, but rather with a conversation. Traditional harvesters recognize the individuality of each tree as a person, a nonhuman forest person. Trees are not taken, but requested.” (pp. 143-144).
Monday April 19 at 7:00 pm
The Seabeck Book Club reading of Braiding Sweetgrass continues with Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass. Student Laurie undertakes serious research to determine which of two traditional ways of harvesting sweetgrass is best for the sweetgrass. Her thesis committee took some convincing, but in the end her properly constructed experiment was approved. What she found out might surprise you; it did me.
Monday April 26 at 7:00 pm
What does citizenship mean to you? In Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer she considers what citizenship means in a nation of maples (“Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide).
I suppose that one of the features of being a member of a nation is shared currency. In Maple Nation, the currency is carbon. It is traded, exchanged, bartered among community members from atmosphere to tree to beetle to woodpecker to fungus to log to firewood to atmosphere and back to tree. No waste, shared wealth, balance, and reciprocity. What better model for a sustainable economy do we need? (p.171)