A farm kid at heart, and a Nlaka’pamux woman of mixed ancestry, Dr. Jennifer Grenz always felt a deep connection to the land. However, after nearly two decades of working as a restoration ecologist in the Pacific Northwest, she became frustrated that despite the best efforts of her colleagues and numerous volunteers, they weren’t making the meaningful change needed for plant, animal and human communities to adapt to a warming climate. Restoration ecology is grounded in an idea that we must return the natural world to an untouched, pristine state, placing humans in a godlike role—a notion at odds with Indigenous histories of purposeful, reciprocal interaction with the environment. This disconnect sent Dr. Grenz on a personal journey of joining her head (western science) and her heart (Indigenous worldview) to find a truer path toward ecological healing.
In Medicine Wheel for the Planet, building on sacred stories, field observations and her own journey, Dr. Grenz invites readers to share in the teachings of the four directions of the medicine wheel: the North, which draws upon the knowledge and wisdom of elders; the East, where we let go of colonial narratives and see with fresh eyes; the South, where we apply new-old worldviews to envision a way forward; and the West, where a relational approach to land reconciliation is realized.
Eloquent, inspiring and disruptive, Medicine Wheel for the Planet circles around an argument that we need more than a singular worldview to protect the planet and make the significant changes we are running out of time for.