A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Go Inside a WITS Classroom Visit with Robin Wall Kimmerer

In April, a group of students from Big Picture High School had a soul-enriching conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer, in which they discussed writing, attention, and care and nurturing for and from the Earth.

SAL’s Spotlight Author visits, held through our Writers in the Schools program, connect young public school writers in WITS classrooms with world class authors and thinkers like Dr. Kimmerer, who spoke as part of our Women You Need to Know (WYNK) Series this past month.

As you’ll note, Dr. Kimmerer’s wisdom often came in the form of questions for students to contemplate. Here, we share a few thoughts she raised during their lively conversation.

“See the land, plants, and water as teachers—and the only way to learn from teachers is to be in their presence.”

“What could we learn about how plants organize, how harm and medicine are near each other? How could there be healings for the inevitable harms? When cures and harms occur near to each other, and how could we build those into our neighborhoods and communities?”


“How can burdens be turned into gifts?”

“Be mindful of where you’re giving you attention, the most precious resource. A lot of forces out there want to take it. Go BE in the natural world—which is everywhere—and really pay attention to what you give your attention to.”

“If there’s a school that can take your culture away from you, couldn’t there be a school that could help give it back?”

“In writing, attend to the Potawatomi Medicine Wheel—the Wholeness in Ways of Knowing: intellect, physical sensations, emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence. Try to include all four in your writing to create doorways and a fullness of storytelling.”

“None of us can change everything, but if you put a rock in that stream, the water changes. It doesn’t change the whole river immediately, but as you add more stones, more and more, the water flows.”


Thank you, Dr. Kimmerer, for for reminding us that one of the most beautiful expressions in the English language is “Look!”

Posted in Women You Need to KnowWriters in the Schools2020/21 Season