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Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kyle Whyte in Conversation

Presented by the Tanner Humanities Center, Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m., Moot Courtroom

by Missy Weeks


A collage of Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kyle Whyte

Robin Wall Kimmerer & Kyle Whyte

Salt Lake City, UT“The urgent issue is not just that there are environmental perils coming, but rather that the climate crisis was built off of generations of inequity,” Kyle Powys Whyte  said in an interview with Michael Nigro for Grist. “If people don’t recognize that it’s a crisis of justice, as well as a crisis of the environment, then they’re going to continue to propose these problematic solutions.” 

The University of Utah’s Tanner Humanities Center will host Whyte, a professor of environment and sustainability and George Willis Pack Professor at University of Michigan, in conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants,” on Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Moot Courtroom of the S.J. Quinney College of Law. A book signing hosted by The King’s English  will follow with Kimmerer’s work available for purchase. 

 “Kimmerer and Whyte’s extensive work in environmental philosophy and Indigenous knowledge systems is especially welcome at a time we are building and strengthening our relationships with Utah Tribal communities and Nations,” said Hollis Robbins, Dean of the College of Humanities. “As our climate changes, we must look to scholars with the broadest perspective on sustainability and how scientific knowledge is organized, including cultural practices rooted in interdependent relationships with local ecosystems.” 

 Kimmerer is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology and director at the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Kimmerer has garnered international acclaim for her profound insights into Indigenous ecological knowledge and in 2022 she was named a MacArthur Fellow.  

 "Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kyle Powys Whyte are two of the most profound contemporary thinkers advocating for the way indigenous practices and forms of knowledge, including gratitude, reciprocity, and collective continuance, can help humans repair our relationships to the natural world, our food systems, and our capacity to survive and adapt to the drastic changes we have wrought on our environment,” said Jeremy Rosen, director of the Tanner Humanities Center. “They are model humanists, who write about the way language, culture, history, and values determine the shape of scientific, social, and economic practices. We are incredibly excited for the opportunity to bring them to Utah, together."  

Whyte is teaching in the SEAS environmental justice specialization, the founding faculty director of the Tishman Center for Social Justice and the Environment, principal investigator of the Energy Equity Project, and affiliate professor of Native American Studies and philosophy at the University of Michigan. His research examines the moral and political dimensions of climate policy, emphasizing the crucial role of Indigenous perspectives in shaping sustainable solutions for the planet. 


About The Tanner Humanities Center  

The Tanner Humanities Center advances humanities exploration and engagement through public outreach, academic research, and educational enrichment. These activities reflect a vision of the humanities as relevant, stimulating, and cutting-edge, and essential for developing critical thinking, tolerance, and respect on campus and in the community.  



Missy Weeks, Tanner Humanities Center |801-581-8879

Published April 15, 2024

Last Updated: 4/15/24