Warren is heading out with his older cousin Matthew and their Auntie to pick sweetgrass, as it is one of the sacred medicines used as an offering or to smudge. Since this is his first time, Warren learns many lessons along the way, including the importance of dressing properly and bringing medicine as an offering. While teaching Warren about the four sacred medicines, Auntie emphasizes that each person chooses which medicine to offer. She explains that the offerings will be accepted as “long as the medicines are used in a good way, and given with a kind heart. This is the most important teaching.”
During the process of picking sweetgrass for themselves and for the elders who are unable to gather their own, Warren, Matthew, and their Auntie keep sustainability of both the land and the medicines in mind. So as not to destroy more than they harvest, they watch where they walk. And, to ensure there will always be sweetgrass for future trips, they don’t take more than they require. After they have all they need, they give Mother Earth their offerings. Both boys also give Auntie an offering as a thank you for her teachings. Once home, they clean and braid the sweetgrass. Auntie again explains that there are different teachings on how to do this. Warren hangs a braid of sweetgrass over his bed so the lovely fragrance will remind him of his trip.
In this third title in the Indigenous Knowledge Series, author Theresa Meuse provides information about the sacredness of sweetgrass, as well as a disclaimer noting these teachings are a reflection of her own journey, which may vary from other people’s beliefs and experiences.
This gentle story with vivid illustrations is a lovely way for children of all ages to learn about the Mi’kmaq way to harvest sweetgrass, the importance of family, reciprocity, and giving thanks respectfully, as well as environmental stewardship.