TCC Common Book Program Hosts NYT Bestselling Author for Virtual Discussion


Tulsa Community College will host author Robin Wall Kimmerer for a free public discussion about her bestselling book, “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.”

The public is invited to attend the free virtual event at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 21. Registration is required.

The virtual lecture is presented as part of the TCC’s Common Book Program that adopted Kimmerer’s book for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 academic years.

“Just as we engage with students in a meaningful way to create a shared learning experience through the common book program, TCC wants to do the same thing with the community by inviting them to join the virtual lecture,” said David Paige, Ph.D. assistant professor of mathematics & co-chair, common book committee.

In “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Kimmerer explores the connection between living things and human efforts to cultivate a more sustainable world through the lens of Indigenous traditions. By exploring gifts the natural world has to offer people, she hopes readers will examine how they view and treat the natural world, especially plants.

First published in 2013, word of mouth seems to have propelled “Braiding Sweetgrass” to wide acclaim and the top of the New York Times best-seller lists in 2020. In selecting this book, the TCC Common Book Committee weighed her role as a research botanist at a university and her role as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation combining an indigenous perspective with Western science. Kimmerer has also received a 2022 MacArthur genius grant.

“At TCC, we will have several thousand students in one academic year reading the common book across multiple courses including the College Success course, for a majority of first-time entering students. The goal of the program is to expand learning and dialogue beyond the classroom while promoting a deeper understanding of the human experience,” said Amy Lagers, TCC reference and instruction librarian & co-chair, common book committee.

After reading the book, a student in Fall 2022 wrote, “Her choice of words and her perspective is eye-opening... I've also noticed for myself that pockets and corners of my brain that were either asleep or nonexistent are opening up because of this book... I'm learning as I read and find myself smiling the whole way through each chapter. It's like being in a different world almost as I read.”

This virtual lectureship explores the dominant themes of “Braiding Sweetgrass” including the cultivation of a reciprocal relationship with the living world. Listeners are invited to consider what we might learn if we understood plants as our teachers, from both a scientific and an indigenous perspective. The talk includes a look at the stories and experiences that shaped the author.

This event is made possible with support from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Tulsa Community College Foundation, the TCC Library and the TCC Common Book Committee. Magic City Books and the Oxley Nature Center are also community partners for this event.

The virtual lecture with Kimmerer is free but registration is required. In addition, copies of “Braiding Sweetgrass” can be purchased through Magic City Books. For those unable to join the virtual presentation, a recording will be available following the event for 14 days at this link.