The Manomin Project

The Manomin Project welcomes the winter with warmth and gratitude. While this time of year does signal more in-office work and analysis, it has encouraged us to look back on our progress and achievements made this past year.

Since the end of the 2021 field season, our team has been hard at work with data analysis and interpretation. PhD student Samantha Mehltretter has been analyzing the data collected from water level loggers on the Upper Winnipeg River. The water level loggers were placed on the River in May and pulled in September, so there is a lot of data to sift through. Dr. Andrea Bradford is offering her expertise by reviewing Samantha’s preliminary analysis, providing guidance and oversight. We also have plans to test sediment and manomin seed samples that were collected during the field season. Our team is eager to see what this data can teach us about manomin growth.

University of Guelph (UofG) members of the Manomin Project have secured funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to investigate the colonial placement of water gauges in Treaty #3. Dr. Brittany Luby, Samantha Mehltretter, and URA Jane Mariotti are currently drafting their article on the subject. We are excited to see where this project is headed in the new year!

After months of hard work, the Manomin Anthology is officially with UBC Press! The draft is being reviewed by our editor before we can move forward with publication. We would like to thank Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, Anthology contributors, and our UofG team members for their hard work and dedication to this project.

We are excited to announce that we have hired an Indigenous marketing company to maintain our social media accounts. Follow us @manominproject on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to stay up to date on project developments between quarterly newsletters.

Jane Mariotti

Meet the Team – Jane Mariotti

Meet Jane Mariotti! Jane is an Ecology student at the University of Guelph. She is currently in her fourth year of her Bachelor’s of Environmental Science degree.

Jane first started working for the Manomin Project in the fall of 2020. Since then, Jane has co-authored and edited several publications with Dr. Brittany Luby, including their “Review of Turner, Plants, People, and Places” Alongside her writing work, she is also helping Sam analyze hydrometric gauge placement in Treaty #3 territory. Jane’s work truly shows just how interdisciplinary the Manomin Project is!

Working with the Manomin Project Team has taught me so much about working with Indigenous plants and what we have to learn from them. It’s shown me the power of collaborating with multiple disciplines to gain a more complete perspective on issues,” said Jane.

We’d like to thank Jane for her hard work and dedication to the Manomin Project. We are so glad to have her on our team!

Manomin Fun Facts

There are many ways to cook Manomin, including like popcorn! You can coat Manomin in oil, heat it in a covered pan, and listen to it pop! The result is a delicious, crunchy snack filled with vitamins, fiber and protein.

2021 Highlights

With the end of the year quickly approaching, we wanted to reflect on everything that the Manomin Project team has accomplished in 2021.

In March, the UofG researchers and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN) published “Beyond Institutional Ethics: Anishinaabe Worldviews and the Development of a Culturally Sensitive Field Protocol for Aquatic Plant Research.” This journal article outlines the gaps in the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) and emphasizes the importance of creating a culturally sensitive field protocol when collaborating with other-than-human beings in research. Click here to read the journal article.

Upriver Media Inc. created an 8-minute movie about the history of hydroelectric development and environmental change in Treaty #3. You can watch the movie on YouTube.

In April, Dr. Brittany Luby taught a 6-week course on the history of Treaty #3 to a group of grade 11 and 12 students in the Kenora Catholic District School Board. Chief Lorraine Cobiness joined the class in June. This initiative aligned with Elders’ requests that UofG researchers collect and share information on Manomin with Treaty #3 Youth.

Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation and the Manomin Project opened the 2021 field season in May with a Spring Feast. NAN’s Consultation Coordinator Josh prepared and distributed gifts of Manomin to attendees on behalf of the Manomin Project. Following the feast, our team took to the manomin fields.

During the field season, Samantha and URA Elli visited Anishinaabe-Aki a total of three times, once in May, August, and September. They gathered data on seed head counts, stalk density, water quality parameters, and Manomin’s conditions to better understand how environmental conditions impact manomin yield. It was a successful season, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Anishinaabe-Aki.

Thanks to the support of our granting agencies, we bought a boat for field work! Our square stern canoe is a fast and reliable method of transportation during the field season. We look forward to taking it back out onto the water during the 2022 field season.

New Publications

We published a new blog post! You can read “Defending Manomin: The Advocacy Work of Winona LaDuke” by past URA Margaret Lehman on the Network in Canadian History & Environment
(NiCHE). Click here to read the blog.

What’s Next

The Manomin Project is excited for the new year ahead. The new year brings with it many opportunities and exciting projects. The Manomin Project is dedicated to cultural revitalization and crop restoration. With that in mind, our team has started looking for possible off-river restoration sites. We are hopeful that we will be able to identify a potential site and begin manomin restoration in the near future.

Samantha plans to write a piece on manomin decline on the Upper Winnipeg River. To do so, she is gathering and analyzing documents from the early 1800s to the present. She hopes that the documents will reveal trends surrounding manomin growth (and its decline). We are looking forward to how this chapter of her dissertation develops!

Our students are busy with several projects. Jane is helping Sam analyze hydrometric gauge placement in Treaty #3 territory using ArcGIS and Microsoft Excel. Emma is advancing our communication strategy for our team by creating monthly updates for NAN Chief and Council and quarterly updates for our stakeholders.