Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Second Annual Manoomin Gabeshiwin Held for Youth

The Sokaogon Chippewa Community held the second annual Manoomin Gabeshiwin (Wild Rice Camp) last weekend and offered Sokaogon youth the opportunity to learn how to harvest wild rice.


The camp kicked off Friday evening with the youth learning how to make ricing sticks and push poles. On Saturday morning, they gathered together again to enjoy a hearty breakfast made by Rachel Vodar and her assistants.


After breakfast, the youth headed onto nearby lakes in canoes, partnered with an adult to help guide them through the rice beds and teach them proper gathering techniques to harvest the manoomin. Chairman Chris McGeshick, Vice Chairman Arlyn Ackley, Jr., Carson Ackley, Leelyn VanZile and Andrew VanZile were there to help and share their knowledge.


While at the boat landing helping the kids get their canoes ready, Art VanZile reminisced about how many years ago the rice was so tall that you could barely see the harvesters on the water, even if they were standing up in their canoes.


It was hot and sunny, and the kids were excited and eager to be out on the lake and learn the ways of their ancestors.


“I really loved going ricing for the first time,” Bella Toyebo said. “The only problem was that is was super hot and there was no wind at all, but it was still awesome. I always saw my relatives ricing and processing, but everyone is getting older now so it’s important we learn how to do this so we can continue our traditions.”



On Sunday, the camp met at the Rec Center to parch the rice gathered the day before. With the guidance of Carson, Leelyn and other adults that stopped by, youth learned how to parch the rice over a fire, how to use the winnowing basket to separate the rice grains from their chaff, and how to dance on the rice.


“Overall, it was a really good weekend and everyone showed different levels of interest when it came to the stick making, picking rice and parching,” Leelyn said. “We were shoreline to shoreline with rice this year, so the harvest season was pretty good to us. I think everyone was able to get out there and get what they needed.”


Chairman McGeshick stressed the importance of having these camps for the youth during each season. He shared that a Fall Camp is currently being planned and details being sorted out.


“Leelyn and I were asked to help assist Rachel Vodar and Artie VanZile, T.R.A.I.L.S. Coordinator, in getting this event organized,” Carson said. “We coordinated efforts with them to get the canoes and life vests for everyone, making sticks with the kids, showing them how to ride in a canoe safely and getting the flyers out. We would like to keep this camp going every year and eventually bring in Tribal youth from other communities.


The youth will use the manoomin they harvested for different camps and events coming up throughout the year.


We would like to recognize and thank everyone who played a part in making this year’s camp successful:
  • Leelyn VanZile
  • Andrew VanZile
  • Carson Ackley
  • Travis Thorbahn
  • Arlyn Ackley
  • Chris McGeshick
  • Mike Krusensterna
  • Trisha Thorbahn
  • Larry VanZile
  • Kenny VanZile
  • Cheyenne Landru
  • Velma Landru
  • Chad Christensen
  • Sarah McGeshick
  • Ashley McGeshick
  • Art VanZile
  • Olivia Wagnitz (Our new AmeriCorps Member)
  • Nolan Thorbahn
  • Ethan Thorbahn
Chi Miigwech to our Elders, Tribal Council Members, SCC staff, AmeriCorps staff and our youth who all came together for this weekend. These camps wouldn’t be a success without shared knowledge and hands-on work with cultural teachings being passed down to our youth.


More photos are posted on the Tribe’s Facebook page.