Black Duck Wild Rice, located in Curve Lake First Nation is a social enterprise involved with seeding, harvesting, processing and educating about manoomin or wild rice—a traditional food of the Nishnaabe people. Black Duck Wild Rice is enacting their Indigenous rights and is working to restore Indigenous food sovereignty for their community and within their traditional territory. These steps are taken as an antidote to the impacts of settler colonialism that the Mississauga Anishinaabeg have and continue to face daily in cottage country across the Kawartha Lakes Region, the Trent Severn waterway, and particularly in contested spaces such as Pigeon Lake. The resurgence of manoomin is an important step in the process of the reconciliation—and reconcili-action!
“…the answer needs to be more active. Reconciliation needs to be a process. Nishnaabe people have shared, to the point that they are doing without the basic necessities, such as healthy traditional foods and the means to access them within their own traditional territories. So there has to be a re-sharing, sharing right from the top to the bottom. This is the process of reconciliation.”
In the latest case study in the Social and Informal Economies of Food series, Paula Anderson and James Whetung explore the transformation of Black Duck Wild Rice from a small, private, for-profit business to a multi-faceted, community-integrated social enterprise sharing seed, knowledge and an element of control through community seeding, harvesting and processing of natural food resources.
Manoomin means the good seed or sacred seed in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway language). The Anishinaabeg have maintained a relationship with manoomin, caring for it, harvesting it, eating it, trading it, honoring it for generations upon generations. It is considered one of the central lifeways of the Anishinaabeg and in essence has defined who they are for millennia. Their intimate reciprocal relationship with this plant is affirmed in their ceremonies, songs and stories and integrated into their practices.