Larry Romanelli, with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Ogema (left) and NRCS Michigan State Conservationist Garry Lee (right) pose with artist Shirley M. Brauker, the winner of the agency’s Native American Heritage Month poster contest. NRCS photo.
When the Anishinaabe people migrated from the Atlantic Ocean coast to Michigan centuries ago, they were in search of a place where “food grows on the water,” according to their tribe’s legend. Their quest ended when they found wild rice, thriving in shallow waters in the Great Lakes region.
The wild rice, or manoomin, served as a staple of the Anishinaabe diet is still culturally and spiritually important to them. And, today, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is helping keep this tradition alive.
NRCS has worked with two Anishinaabe tribes to increase the number of wild rice beds using financial assistance from Farm Bill conservation programs. The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was the first tribe to use NRCS assistance for planting rice. Tribal members planted about 12 acres of wild rice at six locations in 2006. Read more »
Many of Michigan’s American Indian tribes are returning to traditional foods to improve nutrition and sustain their culture. One of these foods is walleye, a native fish harvested from lakes and rivers.
Now USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, raise walleye in order to restock local waterways.
Treaties between the United States government and Michigan Indian tribes give tribal members the right to harvest fish, including in some areas through spearfishing, and to hunt and gather. To ensure that walleye populations are not depleted, tribes stock the fish in lakes and rivers. Read more »