Manoomin: The Taming of Wild Rice in the Great Lakes Region



There are two kinds of wild rice. The first is manoomin, foraged in lakes mainly by the Anishinaabeg in the Great Lakes region of the northern Midwest. The second is wild rice domesticated by public university researchers in the 1950s and is raised in paddies by commercial growers. Yet neither is still truly wild: traditional harvesters must actively seed and restore lakes with rice beds yearly in order to sustain it as a culinary and cultural staple, while cultivated wild rice is undergoing genomic sequencing and transformation. Both now face the threat of pests, disease, and climate change, leaving the future of wild rice uncertain.

Author Biography

Kaitlin Stack Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology, U.S.

Kaitlin Stack Whitney is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Science, Technology, and Society Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology, with a joint appointment in the Environmental Science Program. She holds a PhD in Zoology with a minor in Science & Technology Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research incorporates observational ecology, animal studies, policy analysis, and modern environmental history.