What does wild rice mean to the Ojibwe people?

By Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (NFIC TV)
Myron Burns from the Bad River Chippewa Reservation in northern Wisconsin is seventy-one years old  He's been gathering rice more than fifty years.  He loves getting out with his friends on the wild rice lakes.  He enjoys giving rice away.

When he gets home from the lake he sun dries the rice on a tarp. Then he brings it to a Bad River woman for processing.  

Burns advises against making rice too early in the season.  He doesn't want motors near the lake and river rice beds in July during the rice's floating leaf stage. During this time motorboats can uproot the delicate plant.

He appreciates people taking interest in the rice beds. Unless the rice is cared for, he says, the wild rice will disappear like the buffalo.

"Care for the rice or it'll go away."
 
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