I created a flag with a Maple leaf to symbolize what Kimmerer refers to as “Maple Nation” (2013, p. 167). The feather on the maple leaf represents the importance of the Aboriginal way of thinking about nature. The aboriginal view of the environment believes that we learn from plants, animals and nature. This is in direct contrast to, the more commonly used scientific method, that believes that we learn about things in nature.
Kimmerer asks Mark, “What does it mean to be a citizen of Maple Nation?” (2013, p. 171). Mark replies, “You make syrup. You enjoy it. You take what you’re given and you treat it right” (2013, p. 172). This conversation is what inspired me to create my own Maple Nation flag. We have been provided land as a gift, along with the animals, plants, water, etc., in order to learn from and to survive. We need to treat it with care. Unfortunately, all too often, we are no longer learning from or respecting land but are managing it in a way that is destructive. Human growth has done a lot of damage to the environment and needs to be evaluated, “We are what we eat, and with every golden spoonful maple carbon becomes human carbon (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 172). Changing our thinking to follow the more holistic Aboriginal way will not only rejuvenate the environment, but will also make us think about life in a different light. As Kimmerer states, “Our traditional thinking had it right: maples are people, people are maples” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 172). This simple phrase struck a chord and challenges me to change the way I think. I will endeavor to reverse my view of nature from the traditional scientific perspective, to look at things in a more holistic way.
Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.