Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on December 12, 2016
I am a female forest firefighter in Northern Ontario Canada and this book came with me all fire season this year as my pleasure reading while out in the bush, and is now fully battered and loved and has ashy fingerprints ground into every page. I've always been a biology nerd and adore living and working in the bush , but this book managed to open my eyes and I felt like I was seeing everything in technicolor for the first time this year. The way I concieve of myself in relation to the natural world, as well as the philosophy from which I now interact with my environment on a daily basis has been completely revolutionized by this book. The very way that I walk through the woods is now different. Written with a fierce and honest beauty, Kimmerer's elegantly balanced prose is somehow ornate yet minimalistic all at once,. Her intersecting identities as indigenous, woman, mother, poet, and acclaimed biologist are all woven together in a beautiful tapestry in this work, which is itself a truly wondrous and sacred offering to creation. Her weaving together of traditional indigenous knowledge corroborated by today's biology has made the science of plants and ecosystems come alive for me in a way I've never experienced. It is now my favourite book of all time and I will read it again and again as long as I live and work in the forest. I encourage this book for literally anyone who even remotely 'enjoys the outdoors' or 'cares about the environment', especially those who live in North America and probably do not know nearly enough about the cosmology of the original peoples of this land. This land has rules, rules that indigenous people know and learned and honour and abide by, and we are all (uninvited and very violent settler colonizer) guests in this land and we have never bothered to learn the rules and customs and natural order of this place. She provides an excellent way forward for settlers who want to learn more and try to honour our precious environment and the land here and live right, without just co-opting or appropriating from native culture to try and do so. It's a complicated dilemma, how we can try to belong here in a place that our ancestors stole and colonized. But she handles that delicate dance with both grace and firm conviction. I wish this was required reading in highschools across the continent. I know I will be buying multiple copies over the years to give away!
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