UH Mānoa to host acclaimed author and Indigenous plant ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Mānoa Center for the Humanities and Civic Engagement (MCHACE), an initiative of the College of Arts, Languages, and Letters, and the UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series are presenting an in-person lecture by the bestselling author and noted botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.

What might land justice look like? Robin Kimmerer poses this question while exploring Indigenous perspectives on environmental justice, from biocultural restoration to the Land Back movement. Dr. Kimmerer’s talk invites the audience to consider how engaging Indigenous ecological knowledge contributes to justice for land and people. Central to this discussion, as well as her work in general, is her emphasis on the restoration of ecological communities needing to happen alongside the restoration of deeper human relationships to land and water.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer, photograph from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Robin Wall Kimmerer is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass, as well as Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Braiding Sweetgrass was adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith in 2022 to reinforce among younger readers how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and 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. In 2022 she was named a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow.

“Robin Wall Kimmerer is a talented writer, a leading ethnobotanist, and a beautiful activist dedicated to emphasizing that Indigenous knowledge, histories, and experience are central to the land and water issues we face todayShe urges us all of us to reestablish the deep relationships to ʻāina that all of our ancestors once had, but that Indigenous knowledge and practice continues to follow. Her work is vital to us all. We are honored to host her on O‘ahu.”

“The modern environmental movement has only begun to acknowledge and value the wisdom of Native peoples to sustainably live in harmony with lands, waters and our animal and plant kin. Robin Kimmerer’s important work shows us how we can go much further and how the natural world, along with people, can benefit. We are excited to welcome her to our islands.”

Dr. Kimmerer’s lecture, “Land Justice: Engaging Indigenous Knowledge for Land Care,” will take place on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 pm in the Orvis auditorium in the Music Building Complex on the UH Mānoa campus. The event is free and open to the public. Please register and reserve your seat HERE.

If the event sells out, there is a spillover room at the William S. Richardson School of Law (Classroom 2). The event will also be livestreamed on the UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series YouTube channel.

This event is presented by the Mānoa Center for the Humanities and Civic Engagement and the UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, a joint venture of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

This event is also sponsored by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies; the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i and Palmyra; and the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities.

For more information, contact btss@hawaii.edu.