Wild rice, once common, may return to Michigan

Capital News Service

LANSING — After decades of leaving wild rice management to Native American tribes, state officials are gearing up to track how some government agencies handle wild rice issues. Wild rice, or manoomin, is a seed that is a traditional food for many Native Americans. The plant grows in shallow water, and wild rice stands are peppered in various, often hush-hush, locations throughout the state. A misconception exists that wild rice was never important in Michigan, said Barb Barton, an endangered species consultant from Lansing who is writing a book about wild rice in Michigan.“There actually was a lot of wild rice here prior to the logging era and European colonization.Tribes have been bringing back wild rice stands, undertaking restoration projects that consist of re-seeding historic wild rice beds over several years.”
Doing so requires the collaboration of several state agencies, said Roger LaBine, a traditional ricer with the Lac Vieux Desert Band in the Upper Peninsula. Until now, there’s been little oversight or communication among state agencies about wild rice work.

Two sites in UP classified as Historic Places

Capital News Service
LANSING — Two Upper Peninsula sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places– one culturally important to members of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the other related to a strike important to labor and women’s history. Rice Bay in Gogebic County is a traditional wild rice-growing area covering a quarter-mile-square on northeastern Lac Vieux Desert, a lake straddling the Michigan-Wisconsin border. And the 128-year-old Braastad-Gossard Building in downtown Ishpeming served as a department store and a factory that manufactured women’s undergarments before being renovated for an interior mall and offices. “The National Register is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” according to the National Park Service, which administers the program. Lac Vieux Desert is the headwaters of the Wisconsin River, and most Michigan wild rice sites are within 10 miles of the state border.