Advertise:   712.224.5420

Tribes, scientists clash over wild rice research

The Minneapolis Star Tribune publishes three viewpoints on the merits of wild rice research, with only one outright supporting scientific study.

Joe Lagarde, a member of the White Earth Band, says research on the most sacred item of the Anishinabe people poses many dangers. "We fear that the genetic manipulation of manoomin would ultimately weaken or destroy those very qualities that bring healing to the people," he says.

Craig Hassel and George Spangler, two professors at the University of Minnesota, say scientists have not taken the viewpoints of Native people into account. "Too often, science is portrayed as reality, as objective, and a final (or superior) arbiter of truth without bothering to surface and examine the underlying philosophical tenets that frame (and therefore limit) our practice of science everyday," they say.

Charles C. Muscoplat, a vice president at University of Minnesota, acknowledges that Native people haven't been included so far but that genetic research has benefits. "Now, I believe the most important step is for us all to keep working together, learning from each other, pushing to appreciate the similarities between Western science and traditional knowledge, supporting our young people, and expanding our strengths and partnership successes," he says.

Get the Story:
Joe Lagarde: Sacred wild rice must be protected (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/1)
Craig Hassel and George Spangler: Science isn't the only way to truth (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/1)
Charles C. Muscoplat: This is a clash of culture, worldview (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/1)