Wild Rice: Protecting Our Sacred Manoomin
Wild Rice is a central part of Anishinaabeg culture and tradition. Today, Ojibwe communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada harvest and process wild rice, following the traditions of their ancestors. Manoomin, or wild rice is part of the Anishinaabeg migration stories and prophecies and continues to define what it means to be Anishinaabeg. Our campaign to protect wild rice started to combat the misuse and misrepresentation of this sacred food by the paddy rice industry created by the University of Minnesota. Our work focuses on combating the genetic manipulation, patenting and the misrepresentation of wild rice locally, nationally and internationally. The focus of our campaign is to work with all tribes who harvest wild rice, to protect against genetic manipulation, patenting and taking the essence of our wild rice and leaving our people with nothing.
Our work began in 2002 with the historic gathering that brought together traditional rice harvesters from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to meet with members from the academic, scientific and non-profit communities. This meeting set the foundation for our ongoing struggle to protect the sacred wild rice from issues of bio-piracy, further genetic manipulation, patent struggles and labeling issues.
Over the last year, we have worked on four main componets of our wild rice campaign. Protecting the intellectual property rights of the Anishinaabeg, opposing genetic modification and contamination of wild rice, promoting a fair trade for traditionally hand harvested natural lake wild rice, and educating on the tradition and culture surrounding wild rice. We have made much progress and have laid the groundwork for our upcoming work to protect wild rice through the Minnesota State Legislature.
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Save Wild Rice Poster,