Program helps tribes boost wild rice production
WATERSMEET, Mich. (AP) — A federal agency is working with Native American tribes in Michigan to step up production of wild rice, a dietary staple with cultural and spiritual significance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped tribes increase the number of rice beds they cultivate with financial assistance from Farm Bill programs.
The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was the first tribe to participate. Tribal members planted about 12 acres of wild rice at six locations in 2006.
Wild rice requires good water quality, shallow but flowing water and a mucky base.
The tribes have implemented a wetland management practice that has restored wild rice stands while providing wildlife habitat.