Ruth Myers

Ruth Myers

Ruth Myers, ca. 1987. From the newsletter of the Minnesota Library Association (October 1987), page 1.

Dakota beadwork artist Holly Young

Beadwork artist Holly Young shares her experiences as a Native American Artist-in-Residence (NAAIR) at the Minnesota Historical Society. NAAIR artists study collections items to better understand their respective art forms and then share their knowledge with the community.

Our Home: Dakota Homeland

To Dakota people, many places in Minnesota are sacred. Our origin stories root us in these places. They teach us how to live with this land and to be good relatives.

Our Home: Ojibwe Homeland

From homes along the Atlantic Ocean, our ancestors trekked slowly westward. A prophecy led them to “the land where food grows on water.”

Native Lacrosse Highlights

On August 10, 2019, the Minnesota Historical Society hosted a Community Stick Lacrosse Game at the Arlington and Arkwright Soccer Field in St. Paul. The game was filmed in conjunction with the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit presented at the Minnesota History Center.

Wild rice buyer and sellers

Wild rice buyer and sellers

Two Ojibwe youths sell bags of wild rice to a buyer on the Leech Lake Reservation of Ojibwe. Photograph by Bill Burnson, ca. 1970.

Wild rice harvest on Mud Lake

Citizens of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe harvest rice on Mud Lake, located on the Leech River, seventeen miles downstream of Leech Lake Dam, on September 3, 2015. USACE photo by George Stringham. Public domain.

Tying wild rice stalks

Tying wild rice stalks

An Ojibwe woman ties together stalks of wild rice with basswood fiber to prepare them for harvest. Photograph by Frances Densmore, ca. 1930s. From Reserve Album 96, page 27.

Wild Rice and the Ojibwe

Wild rice is a food of great historical, spiritual, and cultural importance for the Ojibwe people. After colonization disrupted their traditional food system, however, they could no longer depend on stores of wild rice for food all year round. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, this traditional staple was appropriated by white entrepreneurs and marketed as a gourmet commodity. Native and non-Native people alike began to harvest rice to sell it for cash, threatening the health of the natural stands of the crop. This lucrative market paved the way for domestication of the plant, and farmers began cultivating it in paddies in the late 1960s. In the twenty-first century, many Ojibwe and other Native people are fighting to sustain the hand-harvested wild rice tradition and to protect wild rice beds.

Manoomin (wild rice) from Mille Lacs

Manoomin (wild rice) from Mille Lacs

Manoomin (wild rice) sold at Mille Lacs Indian Museum. Packed in 2004 by Manoomin, Inc., of McGregor, Minnesota, a company owned by members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

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