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FRONTLINE

Harvesting wild rice.

Wild R ice

WINONA LADUKE Cultivated Californian

“wild r ice” is very different from the natural wild rice which grows in northern Minnesota.

PHOTOGRAPH: PHIL SCHERME1STER/CORBIS

T IS T H E WILD RICE m o o n in t h e n o r t h c o u n t r y . T h e lakes te em w ith a h a r v e s t a n d a way o f life. “E v e r since I was b i t ty , I ’v e b e e n r i c i n g , ” r em in is c e s S p u d F in eday, o f Ic e C r a c k in g Lake. S p u d , w ith h is wife T a te r , ak a V anessa, F in eday, th is y e a r s t a r t e d r ic in g a t C a b in P o in t, a n d t h e n m o v e d to

B ig F la t L ake, lakes w ith in th e b o r d e r s o f t h e T a m a r a c N a t i o n a l W ild life R e fu g e . “S om e t im e s we can k n o ck f o u r to five h u n d r e d p o u n d s a day ,” h e says, e x p l a in i n g t h a t h e a l t e r n a t e s th e j o b s o f “p o l i n g a n d k n o c k in g ” w ith h is wife.

T h e F in e d a y s , l ik e m a n y o t h e r A n i s h i n a a b e g I n d i a n s f r o m W h i te

E a r th a n d o t h e r r e s e rv a t io n s in th e r e g i o n , c o n t i n u e to r i c e , to f e e d t h e i r fam ilie s , to “b u y school c lo th e s a n d fix c a r s ” , a n d g e t r e a d y fo r th e e v e r - r e t u r n i n g w in te r. T h e w ild r ice h a r v e s t o f th e A n is h in a a b e g n o t only f eed s th e body, it feed s th e soul. I t is a t r a d i t io n w h ich is g e n e r a t io n s o ld f o r t h e s e p e o p l e o f t h e la k e s a n d

4 8 R e s u r g e n c e N o . 2 0 0 M a y / J u n e 2 0 0 0

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