Kreighton Wolf, 17, is an Ashland High School student and chairwoman of the Bad River Youth Council. She stands next to a canoe filled with wild rice after harvesting on Pacwawong Lake near Cable. (Danielle Kaeding/WPR)

Wild rice, or manoomin, is a staple food among Ojibwe tribes that lies at the center of their time on the shores of Lake Superior. For generations, tribal members have harvested this food that grows on water. Recently, members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa made the trek to Pacwawong Lake in northern Wisconsin to pass on the tradition to tribal youth.

At the boat landing, Bad River tribal elder Star Ames shaved a piece of cedar wood to make knocking sticks that are used to harvest wild rice. As a kid, Ames would go out with her brother in black-bottom ricing boats to gather rice for processing. They would lay it out to dry and parch it in a cast-iron cauldron over a wood fire. Then, they would dance the rice, using their feet to loosen the hulls.


Bad River tribal member Lori shaves cedar wood to make knocking sticks that are used to harvest wild rice. (Danielle Kaeding)


Christine Dzwonkowski, a warden with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, gives Bad River youth a tutorial on how to harvest wild rice at Pacwawong Lake. (Danielle Kaeding/WPR)


Bad River tribal member Faye Maday paddles through wild rice beds on Pacwawong Lake as part of trip to take youth out to harvest wild rice. (Danielle Kaeding/WPR)

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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