This book is a fascinating blend of the history of the Potawatomi people and a guide to plants found naturally in North America. It is simultaneously an analysis of the devastating details of our current global environmental crises. Side by side, this book tells us how Native American knowledge and customs can help us restore equilibrium to our environment and how the atrocities of colonization affected the people and the plants of the continent.
The book starts with an introduction to Skywoman, who brought the first plants with her to earth. Kimmerer makes it clear that it is only by acknowledging the lessons of the past that you can safeguard the future. What follows is a collection of anecdotes from the author's life, such as attempting to make maple syrup with her children, learning to weave sweetgrass baskets, and attempting to clear algae out of a pond—a project that is never entirely successful, even after years of trying.
Kimmerer shares numerous other stories of her life and emphasizes the importance of stories in achieving equilibrium between man and land. In a nutshell, I would describe this book as a celebration of the land on which we live, a cautionary tale warning us to care for it, and a love story between Kimmerer and nature.