Visiting the Great Spirit’s Garden: Wild rice in Wisconsin’s wetlands

Wisconsin is one of the few places in the world to contain a significant abundance of Manoomin, or wild rice. Thus, our role as stewards of this resource has global significance. Unfortunately, rice abundance in the state has declined significantly, and the rice remaining on the landscape is threatened by changes in the climate and the biological community. Peter David, one of Wisconsin’s experts on wild rice, will provide a brief overview of the ecology of Manoomin, touch on its cultural and ecological significance, and provide an introduction to the challenges it is facing in a changing landscape.

Peter David, wildlife ecologist

Recorded Friday, October 1, 2021

Learn more about Manoomin on the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission website.

Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Wildlife Ecology) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the past 35 years.

Hungry for wild rice?

LuAnn’s Wild Rice

Note this recipe is for a larger gathering, so reduce quantities if you’re making it for a smaller group. Also, some diners prefer omitting the stewed tomatoes; if you do that, be sure to supplement with some additional liquid.

2 cups grated cheese, any kind (I like Swiss!)
2 cups sliced ripe olives
2 cans stewed tomatoes (undrained)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup diced onion
2 cups wild rice (uncooked
1/2 – 2/3 cups olive oil
2 t. salt
½ t pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together, then add 3 cups boiling water. Bake at 350* in a large, uncovered casserole dish for about 2 hours.


Wild Rice Feast Salad

3 cups water
1½ cups wild rice
Chopped/whole fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, dried cranberries
Slivered almonds
Maple syrup

Rinse/wash rice in three changes of cool water to remove impurities. Combine water and rice in a large saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender. Drain rice (if there is water left in the pot) and transfer to a bowl to cool. Once it’s cool, add some combination of fruit to your liking. Sprinkle with almonds. Drizzle salad with fresh maple syrup. Enjoy.

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