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Robin Wall Kimmerer Quotes

Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “In indigenous ways of knowing, it is understood that each living being has a particular role to play. Every being is endowed with certain gifts, its own intelligence, its own spirit, its own story. Our stories tell us that the Creator gave these to us, as original instructions. The foundation of education is to discover that gift within us and learn to use it well.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie in this ground. Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “The trees act not as individuals, but somehow as a collective. Exactly how they do this, we don’t yet know. But what we see is the power of unity. What happens to one happens to us all. We can starve together or feast together.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “The land knows you, even when you are lost.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “This is really why I made my daughters learn to garden – so they would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “What is the duty of humans? If gifts and responsibilities are one, then asking “What is our responsibility?” is the same as asking “What is our gift?” It is said that only humans have the capacity for gratitude. This is among our gifts.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world. We need to restore honor to the way we live, so that when we walk through the world we don’t have to avert our eyes with shame, so that we can hold our heads up high and receive the respectful acknowledgment of the rest of the earth’s beings.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “If citizenship is a matter of shared beliefs, then I believe in the democracy of species. If citizenship means an oath of loyalty to a leader, then I choose the leader of the trees. If good citizens agree to uphold the laws of the nation, then I choose natural law, the law of reciprocity, of regeneration, of mutual flourishing.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “All powers have two sides, the power to create and the power to destroy. We must recognize them both, but invest our gifts on the side of creation.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Joanna Macy writes that until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it – grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Refusal to participate is a moral choice. Water is a gift for all, not meant to be bought and sold. Don’t buy it. When food has been wrenched from the earth, depleting the soil and poisoning our relatives in the name of higher yields, don’t buy it.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “We Americans are reluctant to learn a foreign language of our own species, let alone another species. But imagine the possibilities. Imagine the access we would have to different perspectives, the things we might see through other eyes, the wisdom that surrounds us. We don’t have to figure out everything by ourselves: there are intelligences other than our own, teachers all around us. Imagine how much less lonely the world would be.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “If we are looking for models of self-sustaining communities, we need look no further than an old-growth forest. Or the old-growth cultures they raised in symbiosis with them.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Trees constitute the environmental quality committee – running air and water purification service 24-7. They’re on every task force, from the historical society picnic to the highway department, school board, and library. When it comes to civic beautification, they alone create the crimson fall with little recognition.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Suppression of our natural responses to disaster is part of the disease of our time. The refusal to acknowledge these responses causes a dangerous splitting. It divorces our mental calculations from our intuitive, emotional, and biological embeddedness in the matrix of life. That split allows us passively to acquiesce in the preparations for our own demise.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow’s edge or floating lazily on a pond, I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Native scholar Greg Cajete has written that in indigenous ways of knowing, we understand a thing only when we understand it with all four aspects of our being: mind, body, emotion, and spirit. I came to understand quite sharply when I began my training as a scientist that science privileges only one, possibly two, of those ways of knowing: mind and body. As a young person wanting to know everything about plants, I did not question this. But it is a whole human being who finds the beautiful path.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “One thing I’ve learned in the woods is that there is no such thing as random. Everything is steeped in meaning, colored by relationships, one thing with another.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “As Gary Nabhan has written, we can’t meaningfully proceed with healing, with restoration, without “re-story-ation.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “When a language dies, so much more than words are lost. Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “It was through her actions of reciprocity, the give and take with the land, that the original immigrant became indigenous. For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “It’s not just land that is broken, but more importantly, our relationship to land.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Same species, same earth, different stories. Like Creation stories everywhere, cosmologies are a source of identity and orientation to the world. They tell us who we are. We are inevitably shaped by them no matter how distant they may be from our consciousness.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Ruined land was accepted as the collateral damage of progress.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Philosophers call this state of isolation and disconnection “species loneliness” – a deep, unnamed sadness stemming from estrangement from the rest of Creation, from the loss of relationship. As our human dominance of the world has grown, we have become more isolated, more lonely when we can no longer call out to our neighbors. It’s no wonder that naming was the first job the Creator gave Nanabozho.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “That, I think, is the power of ceremony. It marries the mundane to the sacred. The water turns to wine; the coffee to a prayer.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “I wonder if much that ails our society stems from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be cut off from that love of, and from, the land. It is medicine for broken land and empty hearts.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Balance is not a passive resting place – it takes work, balancing the giving and the taking, the raking out and the putting in.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “But the world is still unpredictable and still we survive by the grace of chance and the strength of our choices.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “What we contemplate here is more than ecological restoration; it is the restoration of relationship between plants and people. Scientists have made a dent in understanding how to put ecosystems back together, but our experiments focus on soil pH and hydrology – matter, to the exclusion of spirit. We might look to the Thanksgiving Address for guidance on weaving the two. We are dreaming of a time when the land might give thanks for the people.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Never take the first plant you find, as it might be the last – and you want that first one to speak well of you to the others of her kind.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “A teacher comes, they say, when you are ready. And if you ignore its presence, it will speak to you more loudly. But you have to be quiet to hear.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Something is broken when the food comes on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in slippery plastic, a carcass of a being whose only chance at life was a cramped cage. That is not a gift of life; it is a theft.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Our indigenous herbalists say to pay attention when plants come to you; they’re bringing you something you need to learn.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “If time could run backward, like a film in reverse, we would see this mess reassemble itself into lush green hills and moss-covered ledges of limestone. The streams would run back up the hills to the springs and the salt would stay glittering in underground rooms.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Each person, human or no, is bound to every other in a reciprocal relationship. Just as all beings have a duty to me, I have a duty to them. If an animal gives its life to feed me, I am in turn bound to support its life. If I receive a stream’s gift of pure water, then I am responsible for returning a gift in kind. An integral part of a human’s education is to know those duties and how to perform them.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “I want to stand by the river in my finest dress. I want to sing, strong and hard, and stomp my feet with a hundred others so that the waters hum with our happiness. I want to dance for the renewal of the world.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “The very earth that sustains us is being destroyed to fuel injustice. An economy that grants personhood to corporations but denies it to the more-than-human beings.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Among our Potawatomi people, women are the Keepers of Water. We carry the sacred water to ceremonies and act on its behalf. “Women have a natural bond with water, because we are both life bearers,” my sister said. “We carry our babies in internal ponds and they come forth into the world on a wave of water. It is our responsibility to safeguard the water for all our relations.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Names are the way we humans build relationship, not only with each other but with the living world.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer Quote: “Our stories say that of all the plants, wiingaashk, or sweetgrass, was the very first to grow on the earth, its fragrance a sweet memory of Skywoman’s hand. Accordingly, it is honored as one of the four sacred plants of my people. Breathe in its scent and you start to remember things you didn’t know you’d forgotten. Our elders say that ceremonies are the way we “remember to remember.”
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