Published December 10, 2015
GRAND RAPIDS — The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan (Gun Lake Tribe), based in Bradley, Michigan, premiered “Mnomen | Wild Rice” last night at the historic Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids.
Mnomen is a Potawatomi word for wild rice.
“Mnomen | Wild Rice” is a 24-minute documentary film about tribal members harvesting, processing and cooking wild rice in the traditional ways of the Gun Lake tribe’s ancestor. Tribal members discuss the cultural significance of wild rice to the Potawatomi past, present and future.
The Tribe’s Environmental Department staff discusses the importance of wild rice to the environment. The plant has virtually disappeared from West Michigan over the last few decades due to a number of environmental factors. Much of the documentary was filmed in other areas of Michigan where wild rice is more plentiful. A reseeding effort is underway to bring the plant back to West Michigan. Several environmental groups are contributing to this effort to reestablish healthy wild rice beds in Michigan’s waterways.
The documentary is part of an overall wild rice restoration effort funded by a federal grant by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative program, which is really about food sovereignty of tribes.
The Gun Lake Tribe contracted with Rhino Media, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make the film.
A preview of “Mnomen | Wild Rice” can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMW17m1BlFU
Photo by Jesse Pigeon.