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Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area are honored to host Indigenous leader, author and scientist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer for a talk centered around the themes of her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass. A citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, Dr. Kimmerer writes about the intersections of traditional ecological knowledge and science, and how native traditions and scientific disciplines provide different languages through which we can interpret the world. Integrating the two can provide us with a roadmap for how people can come into relationship with and care for the land where they live, honoring the past and planning for a sustainable future.
Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe will be our head of ceremonies and will also introduce the Muwekma Ohlone Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit whose goals include connecting with and caring for their ancestral lands in the Bay Area. A blessing and land acknowledgement will also be delivered by Vice Chairwoman Monica Arellano along with other tribal members.
“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.”
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. She tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer is 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.
As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF, an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose, and who were also members of the historic federally recognized Verona Band of Alameda County. The aboriginal homeland of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe includes portions of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Santa Cruz counties. The missionization policies deployed by the Catholic Church and militarily supported by the Spanish Empire brought many distantly related, intermarried tribal groups together at the missions. The Muwekma Ohlone Preservation Foundation was established in 2020 by a vote of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council to create a non-profit land trust that supports the Tribe. You can support them by visiting their website: https://muwekmafoundation.org/take-action
Peninsula Open Space Trust has preserved over 86,000 acres of open space in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The landscapes POST protects and care for enhance the lives of residents and visitors, ensure a vibrant future for wildlife and benefit our local economy. POST is honored to cohost this event, and to be the fiscal sponsor of the Muwekma Ohlone Preservation Foundation.