Robin Kimmerer, director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment and professor at SUNY-ESF, led our conversation about creative storytelling.
“We need a different kind of science — and we have one. It has existed for millennia. It is called traditional ecological knowledge, which is rich in teachings about how people can give back to land,” she said.
She emphasized the importance of not only being thankful for Earth, but also of thinking about what we can give back to the planet.
“In a storytelling tradition which seems to exclude the other 200 million species that we could be learning from, is it any wonder then that every day, kids in school can recognize 100 corporate logos and ten plants?”
Dr. Kimmerer then shared a native story from the Potawatomi people about the creation of the world. The story described the importance of reciprocity between the gifts of animals and the gratitude of humans.
“It is a story of mind, body, emotion, and spirit, to remind us that at the very beginning of time, the rest of the world was our life raft, and now, so much closer to the end, we must be theirs,” she said.