Leech Lake Tribal College Harvests Sacred, Climate-Imperiled Wild Rice
ON LEECH LAKE, Minnesota (AP) — Wild rice, or manoomin in Ojibwe, is sacred to Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region because it’s part of their creation story and because for centuries, even a handful made a difference between life and starvation during harsh winters.
But changing climate, invasive species, and pollution are threatening the plant, even as its cultivated sibling rises in popularity nationwide. Those threats make it crucial to teach young tribe members to harvest wild rice respecting both the rituals and the environment.
That’s what the Leech Lake Tribal College was doing last week in north-central Minnesota, taking students ricing for the first time on the vast waterway.