Cultures of Reciprocity

A delicate frond spirals out of a vine.

Cultures of gratitude must also be cultures of reciprocity. Each person, human or no, is bound to every other in a reciprocal relationship. Just as all beings have a duty to me, I have a duty to them. If an animal gives its life to feed me, I am in turn bound to support its life. If I receive a stream’s gift of pure water, then I am responsible for returning a gift in kind. An integral part of a human’s education is to know those duties and how to perform them.

An excerpt (pp. 115) from Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.