Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

From Seed to Soup: What It’s Like to Harvest Wild Rice

By Erin Gottsacker, “Native Voices: Audio Portraits of the Anishinaabe” – WXPR

Tribal Members get out their canoes and sand cedar rice knockers at the end of the summer in Lac du Flambeau.

They’re getting ready to harvest wild rice, or manoomin in the Ojibwe language.

The food is an integral part of Ojibwe culture.

“It was told in our prophecies we were supposed to go where food grew on water,” Joe Graveen, a wild rice technician for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe, says. “This is why we’re here in the Great Lakes region. It’s how we ended up in Lac du Flambeau.”

Wild Rice Technician Joe Graveen stands on the shore of Flambeau Lake, which was once covered in wild rice. Photo by Erin Gottsacker, WXPR.

Graveen says wild rice is still eaten at every Tribal feast and gathering. But he’s worried because wild rice is getting harder and harder to find in Northern Wisconsin.

“Last year my ricing partner and I harvested around 60 pounds of wild rice,” he says. “The year before that we had a little under 80 pounds and the year before that we probably had about 120 pounds of finished rice.”

Graveen is concerned this trend will continue.

He’s doing everything he can to stop that from happening.

Listen or read the full story here.