Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe elder savors ricing

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Video and story  produced by Nick Vander Puy
Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin (NFICTV)

Seventy-three year old Mike Chosa is a battle worn political fighter on the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa reservation in northern Wisconsin. But this year he took a break from a dispute about casino revenues to return to his ancestral rice beds.  

When he got to ricing camp the stress ended and the  healing started.  After knocking rice for a few days, canoeing and eating healthy food his blood sugar levels lowered.

He reminisces about ricing with his grandmothers back in the early nineteen forties. They used to set up a wigwam and a wall tent.  His dad, who was a guide, would bring out fish to eat in the evening. They camped the entire month of September at the rice lake.

Chosa describes how to make ricing sticks from white cedar, how to gently knock the rice, and the importance of ceremonies in assuring the return of the wild rice (manoomin.)

 

"I've been ricing since I was five years old."

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