Indigenous Wisdom and Nurture of Mother Earth:

“The fact is, Maples have a far more sophisticated system for detecting Spring than we do.” Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Potawatomi citizen and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer writes: “It is said that our people learned to make sugar from the squirrels. In late winter, the hungry time, when caches of nuts are depleted, squirrels take to the treetops and gnaw on the branches of sugar maples. Scraping the bark allows sap to exude from the twig, and the squirrels drink it… and the next day they lick up the sugar crystals that formed on the bark overnight.”

Indigenous wisdom is gained by living close to Mother Earth and observing the natural ways of life on earth. The Squirrel’s maple feed in “the hungry time” is an example of Mother Earth’s nurture for all of her creatures.

Kimmerer quotes in this post are taken from her book: “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” In her chapter “Maple Sugar Moon”, Kimmerer shares an indigenous legend of a time when maple sap was so thick that the people became lazy and sat around all day drinking the syrup from the maple tree. The legend tells how the sap becomes watered down and concludes with the moral, “Today, maple sap flows like a stream of water with only a trace of sweetness to remind the people both of possibility and responsibility.”

Indigenous wisdom teaches the need to respect and give thanks for all life on earth and to take only what we need, so the earth’s resources will be regenerated and there will always be enough for all life in future years.