Wild rice (Manoomin) is a cereal grain that is harvested and enjoyed throughout the Upper Great Lakes Region by people of varied cultural backgrounds. It has been a central component of the culture of the Anishinaabe people in the region for thousands of years and continues to be of great importance to many tribal communities. Its importance is noted by the fact that the Menominee tribe was named for this plant. Wild rice is also a key element of Great Lakes coastal and interior wetlands that provides food, cover, and spawning habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Unfortunately, wild rice populations have declined throughout much of the plant's historic range, due in large part to human impacts. Given the strong cross-cultural importance of this grain, sustaining regional populations of wild rice requires a commitment to multicultural approaches that recognize, respect, and weave together ways of knowing that are influenced by both traditional knowledge and western science.*
Join Roger LaBine, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Lisa Brush, The Stewardship Network as they take a break from conference proceedings to present on this important stewardship topic.
Roger LaBine - Roger LaBine is an enrolled member of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and an expert wild rice (manoomin) harvester. He is currently the Chairman of the band's Cultural Committee which oversees the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, and the Chairman of the Conservation Committee which regulates the harvesting and gathering rights of the community. Roger also serves as a Co-Chair of the Native Wild Rice Coalition (NWRC) which promotes the restoration and protection of wild rice communities in the Great Lakes region. Since 2007, he has conducted Wild Rice Camps in Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas as a way to pass on the harvesting techniques he learned from his elders to the next generation. He is also active in the restoration projects of the band, partnering with various agencies and organizations to bring back the sacred gift from the Creator to the community.**
Lisa Brush - Executive Director, The Stewardship Network. Lisa has worked in the environmental field in Michigan for the last fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Stewardship Network and has been involved with the Network since its inception more than 10 years ago. She has a wealth of experience helping non-scientific people understand scientific issues. For over nine years, as she has built and coordinated The Stewardship Network, she has emphasized effective and meaningful stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing all aspects of this program. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (Science in Society) from Wesleyan University.
*Description from the Native Wild Rice Coalition website (http://www.nativewildricecoalition.com/)
**Bio from the Society for Ecological Restoration World Conference website (http://www.ser2013.org/program/keynote-speakers/)