Some state lawmakers, the Minnesota Chambers of Commerce and some major mining companies want to gut the water quality standards which protect wild rice – and in fact insure it can grow. New proposals would open the limit of allowable sulfates form l0 ppm to 240 ppm, insuring destruction of wild rice beds. Conveniently, this will allow for mining in areas where wild rice and water are adjacent to ore bodies. This past Tuesday March 22, at a very early hour of the morning – one brave Ojibwe ricer made his way to the State Capital to testify on behalf of the wild rice and the Ojibwe. Ajuawak Kapashesit, from Round Lake on the White Earth reservation presented testimony to the State Legislative hearing, opposing the change in standards.
Kapashesit, commented on his face book. “Why do they have hearings at 8 l5 in the morning?”, lamenting the early hour. This was especially difficult for a college student to muster. However, he did manage to get to the hearing, and was the only Ojibwe present to testify . Representing the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Kapashesit’s testimony follows.
Ajuawak Kapashesit is a Sophomore at Macalester College in St. Paul, studying linguistics. He has riced at Indian Creek, the Ottertail River, and the Crow Wings , and weighed hundreds of pounds of wild rice for Native Harvest.
Read Ajuawak’s Testimony