Project Overview

Launched in January 2018, Kawe Gidaa-naanaagadawendaamin Manoomin (First We Must Consider Manoomin/Psin) is a collaboration among tribes, intertribal treaty organizations, and University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students, that prioritizes tribal views on the cultural significance and ecology of Manoomin / Psiη (Wild Rice), and the policies related to it.

Project Description:

Manoomin/psiη (wild rice) is a sacred plant for Native peoples throughout the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, Manoomin has been declining due to multiple environmental stressors. Native people who have lived with manoomin / psiη for generations understand this intimately, but tribal views, concerns, and treaty rights have not been adequately incorporated into natural resources policies. Protecting tribal resource sovereignty demands a culturally responsible, whole ecosystem approach to environmental stewardship.

 

Dynamic Socio-Environmental Interactions.

Manoomin is linked to people and ecosystems (outer ring) through multiple social dimensions and biophysical processes (middle ring), which together encompass a coupled socio-environmental manoomin system. Manoomin, according to Anishinaabe traditions, relies on human relationships. Harvesting and ecosystem management are two traditional and contemporary ways Anishinaabe people steward manoomin.

Goals: 

Our project aims to center tribal perspectives and research questions. In continuing collaboration with tribal project partners, members of affected communities, and other stakeholders, we will:

  • Address questions identified by tribal resource managers and other tribal community members about the multitude of environmental threats to Manoomin / psiη (wild rice), including unnatural water levels, invasive and competing species, and perturbed water and sediment quality;
  • Analyze existing documents and conduct new interviews to understand how Native voices have been marginalized in policy development, including information on the historical distribution of Manoomin / psiη (wild rice) waters and the cultural value of Manoomin / psiη (wild rice);
  • Formulate a collaborative plan – one that prioritizes tribal values, knowledge, and needs – for integrating multiple viewpoints into university, state, federal, and tribal policies, with the ultimate goal of protecting tribal resource sovereignty.
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