Ojibwe harvest sacred, climate-imperiled wild rice
September 26, 2022
ON LEECH LAKE, Minnesota — Seated low in her canoe sliding through a rice bed on this vast lake, Kendra Haugen used one wooden stick to bend the stalks and another to knock the rice off, so gently the stalks sprung right back up.
On a mid-September morning, no breeze ruffled the eagle feather gifted by her grandmother that Haugen wore on a baseball cap as she tried her hand at wild rice harvesting — a sacred process for her Ojibwe people.
“A lot of reservations are struggling to keep rice beds, so it’s really important to keep these as pristine as we can. ... It renews our rice beds for the future,” the 23-year-old college student said.