Posts tagged: manoomin project

Students design T-shirts as they continue their study with LacCore

By , February 3, 2013

redshirtwlogoFrontMacrofossilgreenshirtFront copydiatom2Tshirtdesign_blackshirtFrontFINAL copyStudents continued their study of Bang Lake’s macrofossils, phytoliths and diatoms. Identyfication with continued clarification by LacCore scientists is building on a becoming familiar with the different terms through hands on learning.

T-shirt designs were created by each group. Groups will share what they each learn to the entire group weekly. A large poster of the Bang Lake core is being developed which will include not only what each group finds in their core but the oral tradition and stories of events at or near Bang Lake.

Giving to our Community

By , February 3, 2013

IMG_0133IMG_0041IMG_0109IMG_0134IMG_0210Considering our community and being actively involved in keeping it healthy anchored manoomin in January 2013. Friday night’s first activity was making birdhouses for our elders. Students worked in small groups constructing houses to be given out. Wood burned designs personalized the houses.

Saturday afternoon thru the early evening students served food at the 13 Moons Pow Wow at the Black Bear Casino. It is estimated nearly 1,000 people were served. Elders were brought a plate by the young people.

Service to our community is an important part of gidakiimanaaniwigamig.

Gathering Stories of Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012


1916 Bang Lake

Through the core a record of our history can be observed. Our study began on Friday night as Tom Howes, FDL Natural Resources introduced Bang Lake.  He shared data collected by Fond du Lac elders about the wild rice harvest back many years. We also looked at maps of the Fond du lac Reservation beginning in 1916 that demonstrated significate changes in the landscape.

Students began their own observations Saturday afternoon by cutting open the core collected that morning and making thier own observations. The two cores were noticeably different – one more dense than the other. Lowana Greensky led students through a discussion on the dating of core beginning in 1500/bottom of our core to 2012/present-top of our core.  Significant dates in history were identified along the length of the core – 1492 Columbus reaches North America;  1787 -1803 Northwest Territory; 1803 Louisiana Purchase; 1837 Michigan became a state; 1836, 1837,  1842, and 1854 Treaties between the United States and the Ojibwe bands in which  they ceded lands in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota but retained the  right to hunt, fish and gather on he lands they sold; 1848 Wisconsin becomes a state; 1858 Minnesota becomes a state;  1861–65 Civil War; and  1924 The Indian Citizenship Act.

Later that afternoon Louis Wise talked about growing up near Bang Lake on Perch Lake. Educated as a biologist Mr. Wise has worked with the DNR and FDL Natural Resources. He explained the role beavers and muskrats played in the wild rice. He told stories about his Grandma controlling the water level by opening and closing the damn. He told stories about sitting on his Dad’s shoulders and seeing nearly 400 muskrat houses on Perch Lake.

He descibed how wild rice needs abrupt oxygen, temperature and nutritional changes to grow. The water levels had to be brought down in January creating an open space below the ice/above the water. Come April the ice break up and drop down, creating waves (open water), allowing oxygen into the water earlier than other lakes. Also, because the water level was tended to be lower the sun would then  could reach the bottom, warming the seeds creating a temperature change. The seeds could then germinate.

Many discussion and review of all we had heard was had between student and staff alike. We hope to continue the discussion during each gathering to better understand our history with wild rice.

Coring Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012

This years study of manoomin will be based in the core and samples collected during November’s camp. Students observed LacCore/Natural Resources scientists as they collected two cores and  live diatoms (water) from the edge of Bang Lake.

It was an unusually warm Fall day. The sky was a mixture of overcast and sunshine. Even though the lake had frozen over, the thin ice kept students close to shore as they completed their work of gathering and bagging seeds and vegetation samples. By completing a number of prepared questions students were directed in their observation,  research and ID of trees and plants (macrofossils).  Students collected information in a variety of ways – for example, written description a species of trees, bush and grasses were identified by their GPS location, seeds collected and bagged, plant samples collected and bagged, sun-prints, drawings, and digital photographs.



Water Quality

By , August 26, 2012

Miner’s Lake outside Ely. Sulfide level 21

Lake Superior south shore. Sulfide level 0

Wherever we traveled students took water samples to track the health of the water. Based on our continued study of the St. Louis River watershed through River Watch activities. Tests were conducted to determine dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates, phosphates, and biochemical oxygen demand.

Miner’s Lake when it was an active mine supplied  WWI  and WWII with iron ore. Currently the pit is about 140 feet deep. Water naturally filled the hole in once the mining was done. Today it is a great fishing lake.



By , March 12, 2012

The study of phytoliths in clay pots became more understandable as students made their own clay coil pots with white earthenware clay, bisque fired them and then completed a final firing at the campfire during camp. Other exploration to assist students in identifying phytoliths under the microscope were also done using oil based clay and drawing.  We hope to cook in the pots during 2013 camp.


By , March 12, 2012

  Students worked at FDLTCC lab with LacCore and manoomin teachers  to determine the macro-fossils found in Band Lake. Their poster was presented in Montana at the Geo-Science Alliance Conference and to the leadership on the Fond Du Lac Reservation.

biboon 2012

By , March 11, 2012

Camp participants

biboon 2012 Winter  January through March camps were spent preparing to tell the story of this year’s study of manoomin. LacCore and manoomin worked together to complete three poster which will be presented mid-March in Montana at the Geo-Science Alliance as well as in April to the Fond du Lac Reservation leaders.

Continued study in the FDLTCC lab with LacCore scientists and grad students involving macro-fossils, phytoliths and diatoms. University students worked with manoomin students working on paper engineering 3D constructions and wind power studies.

Phytoliths and Campfires

By , February 6, 2012

Nightly campfire during our third year of study with LacCore has provided opportunity to walk through the process of making a clay pot, firing it, and hopefully using it as a utilitarian piece of pottery. Clay is one of the art  forms that lasts overtime allowing years of use by the maker as well as a wealth f information to scientists later on.

Cone-shaped sandy paste vessel from a Mossy Grove site in Polk County, Texas. Whole Mossy Grove pots are rare. TARL archives.

They tried to form there pots in the traditional cone shape. Pots were then bisque fired to cone 06 and then returned to the next camp where the pots were fired in the campfire. The smoke and wood ash  created beautiful greys and blacks in the clay. Olive oil was brushed into the hot pots curing the clay. Curing the ceramics we hope will keep food from sticking to the clay.

niibin 2011 GLIFWC Visit – Bad River Reservation, Odanah WI

By , June 14, 2011

GLIFWC stands for Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  Our first presentation was by Peter David, a wildlife biologist who studies and manages manoomin.  His presentation was an overview of manoomin and the role GLIFWC has in managing it.  Wild rice is an annual aquatic grass that grows well at depths of 0.5-3 ft in water that is not too acidic or dark-stained in an organic-rich substrate.  It prefers water that changes depth some annually and slow moving water.  We learned that one reason it prefers these conditions partially because otherwise the perennial plants will take over.  The big seed variety of wild rice only occurs in the MN, Western WI, and Hudson Bay drainage areas.  Wild rice grows naturally in other areas, but it has smaller seeds.  Wild rice is great healthy eating, but also has huge cultural and ecological benefits too.  We learned about the treaties and how the right to harvest rice falls under these treaties.  Also, we reviewed harvesting techniques, both past and present. GLIFWC has five goals related to wild rice: abundance monitoring, harvest monitoring, restoration, public information and education, and research.  Mostly we discussed abundance monitoring.  GLIFWC is responsible for ceded territory that is off-reservation.  The data collected is from this area.  We learned about how Brown Spot disease can wipe out entire lakes during unusually warm seasons.  The abundance graph of rice over the past 15 years or so has high and low spots.  Factors that influence the abundance of rice over a large area are the four-year cycle of abundance on a particular lake, temperature and weather conditions, disease, and water level conditions. When the abundance of rice falls off for more than two years, scientists and GLIFWC may study the lake to try to restore the rice population.  We learned about some case studies where beaver dams, man-made dams, and carp eating the rice were problems. Sometimes lakes need to be reseeded, but first they try to restore the local seeds.  Genetic variability of wild rice is a future area of research. Next, we talked to Wesley about language and culture projects.  We learned about Inaadiziwin, an interactive DVD with traditional hunting, gathering, and fishing with language and culture.  We decided as a group that spear fishing looks really interesting.  They are working on a new project interviewing elders.  We will be doing something similar with our project, so this was a good connection to make.  Another ranger spoke too about the importance of getting kids out doing traditional activities, especially since there is less interest and the elders are getting older.  He made us aware of internships related to science, but also law enforcement and firefighting. Finally, we watched a short video about treaty rights.  One interesting thing we learned was the only treaties that ensured hunting, fishing, and gathering rights off-reservation is in our area and in the NW US.

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