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MANOOMINGICHIGAMI ASSESSMENTS Nibi Miinawaa Manoomin Protecting two invaluable resources By Dylan Jennings Staff Writer Mille Lacs Reservation Minn.A copper vessel filled with nibi water is lifted to every direction acknowledging everything in creation that depends upon water for life. Doreen Day and a few other midekwe midewin lodge women do this work whenever called upon. A large audience of native and non-native community members and professionals take a sip of the blessed water to start this gathering in a good way.After the water ceremony is complete a prayer is offered by a young man which symbolizes the generational trend of young people carry- ing forth Anishinaabe language and culture. Last but certainly not least the local drum group renders a drum song and this sets the tone for the gathering. The 2015 Nibi miinawaa manoomin symposium marked the 3rd annual dis- cussion of the resource and its significance. Professionals in various fields along with concerned community members harvesters and tribal elders came together for a two-day discussion on manoomin water and some of the detriments and research undertakings. Agenda items included topics ranging from manoomin geneticresearchtoTraditionalEcologicalKnowledgeTEKpanels.Averyunique setting indeed where elders tribal leaders and community members could share their knowledge and concerns with university department officials and other agency representatives. One particular discussion on genetic testing and reproduction of manoomin sparkedMilleLacstribalelderBrendaMoosetospeakoutontheissue.Youcouldnt pay me to use paddy rice for our ceremonies or to feed it to my grandchildren. To enjoy the real quality of wild rice we need to protect it. More and more companies are delving into the research of rice composition and DNA makeup. Many tribes are opposed to this as it is being pursued for capital gain. It also diminishes the sacred and important nature of manoomin in the Anishinaabe lifeway. Real hand- harvested manoomin is utilized in many of the Ojibwe ceremonies and feasts and is a main staple in a healthy Anishinaabe diet. Hawaiian relatives travelled far to share their struggles with environmental protection and some of their significant resources such as taro another sacred food. Also a small delegation of representatives from Washington coastal tribes participated in the discussion of revitalizing language and culture through the preservation of the environment. Many of these tribal leaders and community representatives shared common concerns and it was refreshing to see an audience of young tribal people envi- ronmental agencies and university staff listening and learning. The only way to bridge the gap of misunderstanding that exists between the academic world and the tribal communities is to listen and open the mind to a new perspective. TheAnishinaabeworldviewmaydifferfromhowagenciesandacademiamay viewthingshoweverthiswayoflifehasexistedforthousandsofyears.Anishinaabe people are still here and living proof of mino-bimaadiziwin leading a good life. Larry Amik Smallwood Mille Lacs tribal elder and emcee wished everyone safetravelsandinvitedthecrowdbackforthe2016symposium.Thedrumsounded again this time singing round dance songs to get the audience up and participat- ing. Everyone no matter where they came from danced to the same heartbeat. Fall lake trout and whitefish assessment in full swing Reward for return of depthtemperature tags The Great Lakes assessment crew which includes personnel from GLIFWCs Great Lakes Section and the Bad River Tribe are in the midst of another busy season of assessing the lake trout and whitefish populations in Michigan waters of Gichigami Lake Superior. The purpose of this survey is to determine the movement abundance and biological features of lake trout and whitefish in Lake Superior. This is accomplished by measuring weighing and tagging fish that are caught with gill nets on spawning reefs in various locations around the Keweenaw Peninsula and Marquette Michigan. In addition to tagging fish the assessment crew has collected lake trout samples that will be used by GLIFWCs Environmental Biologist Sara Moses to determine mercury levels in lake trout of various sizes. Also the assessment crew has collected lake trout samples that will be used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance program to assess the level of contaminants present in lake trout tissue. Ultimately these data will help people determine the quantity of lake trout that is safe to eat. During the assessment GLIFWC Great Lakes Section personnel are conduct- ing an ongoing archival tag study that assesses the depth and temperature that lake trout inhabit throughout the year. Last summer GLIFWC personnel with the assistance of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tagged ten lake trout near Keweenaw Bay with archival tags that record depth and temperature distribution of lake trout. Thus far two tagged fish have been recaptured by tribal fishermen and depth and temperature data have been extracted from the tags. The data col- lected so far have given GLIFWC biologists a valuable glimpse into the depth and temperature usage of lake trout. Ninety additional lake trout were tagged in Gichigamis Grand Traverse Bay during the fall season. If you happen to capture one of our tagged fish please keep the fish and tag then contact GLIFWC personnel at 715-685-2120715-685-2175 or visit www.glifwc.orgtag.html with information regarding your fish in order to claim your reward. Mike Plucinski GLIFWC Great Lakes fishery technician is at the helm of an assessment vessel while Ed Leoso Bad River Department of Natural Resources hauls in an assessment net as part of the annual fall lake trout and whitefish population assessments in Lake Superior. photo by Ben Michaels Ed Leoso left and Tom Houle Bad River Natural Resources Department pick fish from assessment nets in Lake Superior as part of annual population assessments. photo by Ben Michaels By Ben Michaels GLIFWC Fisheries Biologist MAZINAIGAN PAGE 4 WINTER 2015-16 The Traditional Knowledge Panel consisted of well-respected and experienced MilleLacsBandTribalmembersandeldersincludingJoeNayquonabeBrenda Moose and Henry Sam. The panel told old stories about the communities expressed the importance of cultural knowledge and conveyed concern for the health of the resources. photo by Dylan Jennings