Honoring the Third Fire: Investigating Claims to Ownership of Seeds as Reproducible Property
The Department of Rural Sociology at UW-Madison is partnering with the White Earth reservation in Minnesota in a research program designed to investigate and facilitate the dialogue about wild rice. This program encourages the exchange, development, and documentation of ideas about the importance of wild rice as a natural and cultural resource through interviews and participation in two day-long public meetings. These meetings are exploring the importance of wild rice to the Anishinaabe, to non-native communities and ecosystems in Wisconsin, and to the larger agricultural and political landscape of the United States.
The day-long public meetings will target community members from the White Earth reservation but will also be open to members of other Minnesota and Wisconsin reservations. The meetings will help the Anishinaabe form networks and communication channels to share their knowledge about the current status of wild rice. The tribal papers will be used to disseminate the content and results of these meetings. The second audience will be the general public of Minnesota and Wisconsin and, more broadly, those concerned with issues of sustainable agriculture.
We have been in dialogue with both the White Earth Land Recovery Project and our consultant Joe LaGarde throughout both funding years. I have completed four out of the six planned trips to Minnesota. During the first three trips, I made important contacts in the community and scouted possible sites for my day-long workshops. We held one of the two day-long workshops at the end of August 2005. The workshop went well and we handed out an evaluation at that workshop. We’ve conducted four formal, and many more informal (not tape recorded) interviews with Anishinaabe elders and community members about the importance of wild rice.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The second day-long meeting is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2007 due to the difficulty in scheduling it during the winter months. During the summer of 2007 we plan to finish the final report from the workshops and disseminate information to the Wisconsin and Minnesota public.