I thought this chapter was a really nice depiction of the symbiotic relationship between corn, squash, and beans. Kimmerer emphasizes that this relationship is not borne out of intentional collaboration, but instead each species acting in a way that is most beneficial to itself. Of course, it’s also important to remember that this relationship depends on interventions and management by the human farmer.
I thought the following quote was an interesting concept/metaphor:
The Three Sisters offer us a new metaphor for an emerging rela-tionship between indigenous knowledge and Western science, both of which are rooted in the earth. I think of the corn as traditional ecological knowledge, the physical and spiritual framework that can guide the curious bean of science, which twines like a double helix. The squash creates the ethical habitat for coexistence and mutual flourishing. I envision a time when the intellectual monoculture of science will be replaced with a polyculture of complementary knowledges. And so all may be fed. (Kimmerer 2015, 139).
What would a world guided by traditional/ecological knowledge instead of hard Western science look like? Is such a world even possible? I feel like sometimes the manmade science-y way and the “natural” way are at odds with each other (e.g. medicine, technology vs. natural processes), with science being seen as more beneficial to humans and prevailing. Like the corn, beans, and squash, most species do not consider the bigger picture of things when deciding what to do and act purely in self interest (although humans are arguably not like other species due to our level of impact and control…)