RESEARCH ORIGIN AND GOALS
The Anishinabeg associate manomin (wild rice) with food security, cultural foodways, and economic competitiveness. Settler modifications in the Winnipeg River Drainage Basin, including changes in land use, regulation of water courses, and the introduction of pollutants and invasive species, have prevented the Anishinabeg from harvesting enough manomin to generate surplus revenue or maintain their livelihoods. Our research responses to drastic declines in manomin on the Winnipeg River at Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN) in an attempt to restore agri-production in northwestern Ontario.
Community partnership has facilitated the flow of information between NAN and the University of Guelph. Elders communicate knowledge about how the ecosystem functioned historically and university researchers apply those teachings to scientific data about contemporary ecohydrological conditions to identify factors limiting manomin productivity.
Our long-term goal is to co-develop culturally-appropriate crop management techniques responsive to settler-imposed changes. More than that, we hope that our research will stimulate agricultural expansion in northwestern Ontario while contributing to cultural revitalization, economic and food security in Anishinaabe communities, and scholarly discussions of interdisciplinary research.