RESEARCH ORIGIN AND GOALS
The Anishinabeg associate manomin (commonly known in English as 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 responds to drastic declines in manomin on the Winnipeg River at Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN) in an attempt to restore agri-production in what is now known as northwestern Ontario.
Community partnership has facilitated the flow of information between NAN and the University of Guelph. Knowledge Keepers communicate how the ecosystem functioned historically and university researchers apply those teachings to scientific data about contemporary ecohydrological conditions in order 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.
Learn more about the hydroelectric development and environmental change in our short documentary, “Stories from Niisaachewan.”
Our research has been generously funded by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Ontario Field Resource Program, George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited, and the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER).