The arrival of summer has brought many exciting developments to the Manomin Project.

We have secured new funding to increase our communication capacities! The Manomin Project has received $15,000 from the Small Grants program led by the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER) to finance the creation of newsletters like this one. This funding will help us advance our communication strategy and diversify our knowledge mobilization efforts.

As part of the Manomin Project’s outreach efforts, Elders on the Manomin Project encouraged University of Guelph (UofG) researchers to collect and share information on Manomin with Treaty #3 Youth. In April, Dr. Brittany Luby began teaching grade 11 and 12 students at the Kenora Catholic District School Board on the history of Treaty #3. Each week, students would read a treaty record and have an open discussion about the history of Treaty #3. Chief Lorraine Cobiness joined the class in June. She encouraged Youth to connect with community and to deepen their cultural teachings outside of the classroom.

As the weather grew warmer, our First Nation partner, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN), opened the 2021 field season at their Spring Feast. NAN’s Consultation Coordinator Josh prepared gifts of Manomin on behalf of the Manomin Project. These gifts were distributed to attendees at the Spring Feast to open the season in a good way.

PhD student Samantha Mehltretter and Undergraduate Research Assistant Elli Pattrick arrived at the Winnipeg River mid-May. They spent two weeks in Anishinaabe-Aki meeting with Elders, visiting the river, delineating perennial vegetation, and collecting sediment samples. They also deployed water level loggers and measured water quality parameters. These measurements will help determine how Manomin is impacted by environmental conditions.

Meet the Team: Margaret Lehman

Meet Margaret Lehman! Margaret, better known as Maggie, is a long-time member of the Manomin Project.

Maggie first started working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Manomin Project in Summer 2019. She started when she was in the third year of her undergraduate degree majoring in English and History at the University of Guelph.

Maggie supports the Manomin Project by managing our social media platforms, developing our content, and increasing our public reach. This is an important task for information dissemination and sharing what we have learned from our project.

“The Manomin Project continues to teach me the value and importance of community engagement and partnership, as well as demonstrating what interdisciplinary research can accomplish,” said Maggie.

We’d like to thank Maggie for her dedication to the Manomin Project throughout her undergraduate degree. We are thrilled to announce that she will be staying on the project while she completes her Master of Arts in History at the University of Guelph.

What’s Next

The arrival of summer has caused great excitement among our team. We have many plans for the next several months.

After a great start to the field season, our team is excited to continue our work on the Winnipeg River. In July, Brittany and Josh will delineate Manomin stands to estimate the approximate extent of manomin growth at each ancestral manomin site.

Dr. Brittany Luby is coordinating with Grand Council Treaty #3 to interview Elders and manomin harvesters from neighbouring communities. The knowledge we gain from these conversations may help inform future crop restoration activities by teaching us how other communities cared for Manomin in the region.

Our team is keeping busy as we prepare for the summer ahead. Dr. Andrea Bradford is searching for more funding opportunities. Sam and Elli are post-processing the data collected in May and beginning to analyse it. Dr. Brittany Luby and Maggie are editing the Manomin Anthology to send for publication with UBC Press. Maggie is also continuing to run our social media accounts (@manominproject on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). Emma is advancing the communication strategy for our team. Jane is taking the summer off after contributing to a small SSHRC funded project on the colonial placement of water gauges in Treaty #3. We wish her a restful summer and are looking forward to her return in the fall.

Manomin Fun Facts

Did you know that a single Manomin plant has both male (stamens) and female (pistils) reproductive organs? This means that the wind-pollinated plant needs to avoid self-pollination by flowering at different periods of time. The female flowers bloom first as small white flowers during late July. Yellow and pink male flowers bloom 3-4 days later. While this does help reduce self-pollination, it can still occur.

Decolonizing Our Minds

The Manomin Project team recently began “Subaltern Speaks Sundays” to recognize the need to listen to a diversity of voices and decolonize our minds and research. On Sundays we share resources that members of our team have found helpful on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Our first recommendation was “An Indigenous Research Methodology That Employs Anishinaabek Elders, Language Speakers and Women’s Knowledge for Sustainable Water Governance” (2020) by Susan Chiblow. Chiblow discusses the importance of decolonizing research methodologies in relation to sustainable water governance.

“My relationship to N’bi [water] and the lands has significantly influenced my identity. […] Many Elders simply state that water is a living entity or water is alive, with its own personalities, and water is life. Understanding that N’bi has its own agency and can govern itself is sustainable water governance” – Susan Chiblow

Interested readers can find Chiblow’s complete article here.

New Publications

As mentioned in our Spring Equinox Update, the Manomin Project is creating an anthology! This anthology will make information on Manomin more readily accessible to interested readers. Currently, members of our team are editing the anthology before sending it away to our publisher, UBC Press, for review. We are excited by the prospect of creating an anthology and hope that we can share it with our stakeholders soon.

Recent Events

Before the busy field season picked up, Brittany Luby and Chief Cobiness were invited to speak about the history of the Winnipeg River on Nature’s Past, a Canadian environmental history podcast run by the Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE). The episode entitled “Water and Anishinaabe History” is available for streaming on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

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The Manomin Project is a cooperative research program led by the University of Guelph and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation. This newsletter reflects our responsibility and commitment to knowledge sharing.