Award-winning author Robin Wall Kimmerer will discuss “What does the Earth ask of us?” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, when she delivers virtually the 16th annual Common Reading Invited Lecture for Washington State University. The event is free and open to the public, and the link to join the lecture is available online.
The lecture was originally scheduled for Jan. 31.
Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” is the 2022–23 and 2023–24 common reading book for first-year and other students. Topics from the collection of essays and poems provide a rich basis for discussions and programming, said Common Reading Program Director Karen Weathermon.
On Tuesday, near the start of the presentation, several watch parties are planned by interested groups in Pullman, Vancouver, and Puyallup. Pizza, snacks, or other food will be available, organizers said.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kimmerer to WSU and look forward to hearing her messages,” said Weathermon. “We expect to have a large audience and have heard from interested parties regionally and as far away as Boise and Oregon.” Anyone with a question for Kimmerer is asked to submit it online in advance of the lecture; Weathermon said as many as possible will be posed to the speaker at the close of her lecture.
Sponsors of the lecture include the Common Reading Program; Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President; Visiting Writers Series; Department of English; Native American Programs; Global Campus; Institute for Biological Chemistry; and the WSU chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Kimmerer is described as a mother; scientist/botanist; enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation; Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York; and founder and director of SUNY ESF’s Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs drawing on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for shared goals of sustainability. In 2022, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2015, she addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.”
Kimmerer earned her B.S. in botany from SUNY ESF, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in botany from the University of Wisconsin.