Wild rice harvesting still an important tradition

Harvesting wild rice is still an important tradition for Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota although some elders worry that fewer younger people are interested.

Rice is an important revenue stream for many families. John Shimek, 22, says an experienced harvester can earn hundreds of dollars for a few hours work.

Harvesting is time-consuming and takes a lot of hard work, says elder Earl Hoagland. He teaches children the rice tradition every fall.

Winona LaDuke of the White Earth Land Recovery Project says there is a growing interest in wild rice. Sales by her organization have tripled since last year, she says.

LaDuke and other tribal members are worried that genetic engineering could contaminate their crops or reduce the need for Ojibwe wild rice.

Get the Story:
Wild rice sales are booming; threat of contamination looms (Minnesota Public Radio 9/19)
Native harvest: Wild rice key to tribe's way of life (The Fargo Forum 9/19)

Relevant Links:
White Earth Land Recovery Project - http://www.welrp.org

Related Stories:
LaDuke leads effort against genetically modified rice (03/09)
Ojibwas working to save wild rice traditions (10/13)
Tribes, scientists clash over wild rice research (08/02)