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Braiding Sweetgrass Discussion 5 Burning Sweetgrass

This is a discussion of section 5 of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, “Burning Sweetgrass.” For the discussion of section 4, go here.

Windigo Footprints

A monster myth, explained!

Question: What form would the monster version of what you’re most afraid of take?

The Sacred and the Superfund

This story of water is about genocide, bitter survival, and hope. It’s the flip of the beautiful meditation on water from the previous section, and asks us to take responsibility for harm done.

Questions: Are there things that can’t be repaired? What determines whether things can’t or can’t be fixed?

People of Corn, People of Light

This chapter, about the Mayan creation story of being the People of Corn, is about language and who tells your story. If you tell your own story, what language do you use? How does your origin story affect who you are right now?

Questions: The Mayan creation story was of how they became the People of Corn. Think about your own creation story. What are you People of?

Collateral Damage

Amphibians are collateral damage in climate change, and often go unnoticed by the people causing the damage. Humans suffer collateral damage, too. How can we become more intentional so we don’t cause any more collateral damage to other humans or any other living beings?

Questions: Have you ever felt like collateral damage in someone else’s war?

Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Fire

Wall Kimmerer’s father’s deep knowledge of fire and building fires is something he passed down not only to her and her children, but to other Native children at summer camp. He sees use for fire even when it is destructive. Wall Kimmerer wonders how we can take care of the world, even if we have to use fire to shape it.

Questions: Do you think we are in the Seventh Fire right now? DO you think there will be an Eighth Fire?

Defeating Windigo

Wall Kimmerer defeats the Windigo by using her plant medicine to make it sick and then heal it. If only she could defeat the neighbor who has destroyed her medicine forest.

Question: Is there a Windigo in your life right now?


This chapter about gathering, about ceremony, about responsibilities, about sustaining life, teaches us to be responsible and connected.

Question: Has reading this book made you feel any more connection to the land you are on right now?

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