1930s, Culture, Food, Fun, History, Nature, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Wild Rice Is Life

Nat Geo 3/35, Finlay Photograph by Clifton Adams

Four incredibly color-coordinated pale faces chat about patterns with Chippewa Chief Big Bear in Itasca Park, Minnesota back in 1935. His tribesman sold many items to visitors, including beaded bags, baskets, toy birch-bark canoes, and other handicrafts. They also held husking parties, such as these,¬†with the intent to supply rice for sportsmen’s game banquets.

Asabel Curtis

While other tribes chose corn as their main crop, the Chippewa lived in a “place where there is food upon the water” surrounding the Great Lakes region. Wild rice, or “manoomin” in the Ojibwe language, was integral to their diets as well as their entire way of life. Wisconsin Chippewans have harvested manoomin for centuries.

https://www.sierraclub.org/

In 2018, Chippewa Indians from Turtle Lake, Wisconsin continued to gather in the name of rice, hosting their 45th annual Wild Rice Festival. The pow-wow was the showstopper.

https://www.hometownsource.com/

While rice beds have been diminishing, threatened by climate issues, pipelines, and mines, Chippewans struggle to protect the crop by reseeding lakes and waterways, hoping to meet the needs of their communities as well as pass on the culture to younger generations.

https://www.sierraclub.org/

Who knew wild rice was such a big deal? To most of us, it’s just a side option at restaurants.

Or a delectable holiday dish, such as this cranberry squash wild rice pilaf.

https://carlsbadcravings.com/

Seriously, I could eat that right now.

Check and see if your state celebrates wild rice as well. Why, we even have a Texas Wild Rice Festival in San Marcos! There’s the mayor floating the river in the middle of the festival.

Prices seem fair in most places, even if you don’t get a pow-wow or float down a river.

And don’t forget to dress up!

Deer River Rice Festival, Grand Rapids Herald Review by Don Batista
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