Michi Saagig Manoomin (Wild Rice) is a sacred plant found only in the Great Lakes and
Boreal Forest regions of Turtle Island (North America). Michi Saagig have over 10,000
years of history with Manoomin in our traditional territory. This sacred plant has
sustained the Michi Saagig since time immemorial and continues to be recognized and
honoured as a significant food source.
Manoomin has rapidly declined in the past two centuries due to environmental changes
caused by flooding since the construction of the Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) and
continued fluctuations to water levels. The decline of Manoomin is also due to
settlement and pollution from development along shorelines, agricultural run-off, septic
tank leakage, motorboat emissions, use of herbicides, foreign and invasive species, and
federally permitted dredging. We are also aware of the devastation to our Manoomin
beds due to the unlawful and un-permitted removal of Manoomin.
That Manoomin has returned to our lands and water demonstrates that our water
systems are returning to better health. Manoomin has nourished Michi Saagig for
millennia and is a significant part of Michi Saagig food security. Many Michi Saagig
Elders, harvesters and community members have worked for decades to revitalize
relationships with Manoomin through restoration initiatives and community-based
education. This work will ensure continued access to sustainable and nutritious local
food sources in this territory for generations to come.
We provide this declaration in the spirit of sharing information on the historical, cultural,
nutritional, and spiritual resources found in our territory. We appreciate the ongoing
work of community members, like James Whetung, for their dedication to preserving
Manoomin. We applaud and congratulate Drew Hayden Taylor for his success in raising
awareness of the issues surrounding the revitalization of Manoomin in our territories.
And we admire his candor and humour when creating space for these conversations.
Reconciliation can only happen when both parties engage in dialogue to understand our
historical connection to all living things and the health of our environment.
Chief Emily Whetung on behalf of Curve Lake Council