Minnesota Tribe Fights Line 3 For Putting Water, Wild Rice at Risk

"In northern Minnesota, Anishinaabe people are fighting an oil pipeline that threatens their sustenance and spiritual connection to the land."

"In the mist of a chilly October morning, Anakwad Migizi, who also uses the name Wendy Stone, pushes her family’s canoe into a tiny lake in the Crooked Creek watershed in east central Minnesota. The wild rice, or manoomin, is so tall and thick that, for a while, everything is obscured except the patch of blue sky overhead. Holding a pair of cedar knocking sticks in her hands, Stone, a Crane clan Anishinaabe writer and educator, pulls the top of the rice stalks over the boat and gently taps them to release some of the grains into the boat.

As the morning passes, the canoe fills up with rice and with the many small worms and insects that live on the rice as it grows in the shallow lake water. While Stone does the knocking, her nephew pushes the heavy canoe through the tall rice with a long pole. Wild rice grows in deep muck, and the danger of capsizing or falling out of the canoe is ever-present, so the pair moves cautiously and Stone grabs on to the rice stalks on both sides of the boat to hold it steady.

For Stone, and thousands of other Anishinaabe people (or Anishinaabeg), ricing is both a source of sustenance and a spiritual event that takes place every year. It begins with a ceremony that includes singing and other forms of paying respect to their rice relatives. It always includes knocking some grains into the water for animals and other beings, and to ensure there is seed for the following year’s rice."

Lynn Sue Mizner reports for Civil Eats May 18, 2021.

Source: Civil Eats, 05/24/2021