Public Lab Research note

What is Manoomin?

by Giiwedin | June 28, 2022 21:28 28 Jun 21:28 | #31164 | #31164

Manoomin is the Anishinaabe word for wild rice (Zizania palustris) and it is a sacred food to the Anishinaabe. The Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa) are a North American tribe located around the Great Lakes region. Manoomin is an annual aquatic grass that only grows in North America. The Anishinaabe harvest Manoomin in August, when the plant is ripe during Manoominike Giizis (wild ricing moon). Manoomin grows in shallow rivers, lakes, and wetlands and the plant is a good indicator of the health of an ecosystem.

Image by Keri Pickett


Beautiful, thank you! Does Manoomin have to be cultivated/farmed by people, or does it grow on its own if the ecosystem there is healthy enough?

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Boozhoo Liz, miigwech for the question! Manoomin grows naturally in the lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Although, when it is cultivated, the wild rice is much different than what grows naturally. The cultivated Manoomin is uniformly black and has a lower nutrient concentration whereas the Manoomin that grows naturally has variation in color and a higher nutrient concentration because of the biodiversity that comes with growing in the wild.

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