Braiding Sweetgrass

by

Robin Wall Kimmerer

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Robin’s Grandfather (Asa Wall Character Analysis

) – Asa Wall, Kimmerer’s grandfather, was a Potawatomi boy who at nine years old was taken to Carlisle boarding school, where he was given a new name and punished for speaking his language or expressing any aspect of his home culture. Changed forever by this experience and feeling severed from his home in Indian Territory, afterward he joined the army and then settled in upstate New York, working as a mechanic and raising a family “in the immigrant world.” Asa is a tragic figure in Braiding Sweetgrass, as he feels disconnected from both his Potawatomi roots and the American society that seeks to destroy those roots. Robin also feels great sorrow over all the knowledge lost to him during his time at Carlisle, and how his distance from their culture has affected their personal relationship and her knowledge of her own roots.
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Robin’s Grandfather (Asa Wall Character Timeline in Braiding Sweetgrass

The timeline below shows where the character Robin’s Grandfather (Asa Wall appears in Braiding Sweetgrass. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Gifts, Gratitude, and Responsibility Theme Icon
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
...them with pecans, and run home in their underwear. One of those boys was her grandfather, Kimmerer says, back when he lived on a reservation in “Indian Territory,” which would later... (full context)
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
...least to find new nuts (pigans) in Kansas. Briefly returning to the story of her grandfather, Kimmerer describes how nuts are full of fat and protein, and so the boys’ haul... (full context)
Motherhood and Teaching Theme Icon
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
...They would manage this in different ways—through threats, bribes, or extortion. At some point Kimmerer’s grandfather was sent off to one of these schools. (full context)
Chapter 6
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
...would have grown up speaking Potawatomi, which is also called Bodewadmimwin. Unfortunately, children like Kimmerer’s grandfather were stripped of their language and culture as children, and that damage has been irreparable. (full context)
Chapter 22
Motherhood and Teaching Theme Icon
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
...up when she knew so little about her own heritage, which was stolen from her grandfather at Carlisle—for example, she was never taught about the importance of sweetgrass. Back at Tom... (full context)
The Indigenous Past and Future Theme Icon
Asa and his brother Oliver were both sent to Carlisle, but Oliver ran away and returned... (full context)