Restoring Mnomen, a Step on the Path to Reconciliation
Although mistaken for a wetland plant of only the far north, Mnomen (wild rice, Zizania aquatica; Z. palustris) is a staple food for Anishinaabek peoples across the Great Lakes—including those who once made their home on lands now owned by U-M. But after centuries of ecological degradation across Michigan’s lower peninsula, Mnomen now survives in just a fraction of its former abundance.
This project—called the Mnomen Initiative—aims to build a partnership of Anishinaabek community members, tribal nations, U-M faculty, and allies at other Michigan universities. Tribal partners will contribute time-tested traditional ecological knowledge and years of hard-earned experience in Mnomen socio-ecology, while regional wild rice experts will bring the range of available current knowledge and best practices. Together, the group will assess the feasibility of Mnomen restoration on ten U-M properties and propose a pilot restoration project on the most appropriate site, exemplifing sustainability grounded in reconciliation principles.
This project received a $10,000 Catalyst Grant in 2020.
Gary Morseau - Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
Christine Morseau - Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
Carey Pauquette - Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
William Johnson - Michigan Anishinaabe Cultural and Repatriation Alliance
Lee Sprague - Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish (Gun Lake) Band of Potawatomi Indians