Students learn about wild rice harvesting

Students learn about wild rice harvesting
Posted on 09/27/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Students learn about wild rice harvestingStudents dance on wild rice in order to harvest it

A handful of St. Thomas Aquinas High School students had the honour of harvesting wild rice earlier today as part of Science North’s 2nd Annual Kenora Science Festival.

The wild rice harvesting was part of a traditional teaching led by Ron Mandamin, Wiidookaa-gagewi, Bimose Tribal Council. Mandamin began the day by telling the story of how wild rice got its name “Manoomin” as well as speaking about its cultural significance and the importance of passing down the traditional way of harvesting it.

Afterwards students watched as the rice was cooked over the fire and then had the opportunity to dance on the rice to separate the grain from the husk.

Grade 8 student, Julian Land took part in the dancing and spoke about his experience.

A TA student holds up some wild rice grain“It was quite neat to learn. It was tiring but also fun. The rice felt like a bunch of rocks under your shoes. You had to stand on it and move your feet around and jump a bit, anything to get the husks off,” he said.
Land was one of a few dozen students to attend the harvesting from schools in Kenora and the surrounding First Nation communities. The lesson was a partnership event between Science North, Bimose Tribal Council and Grand Council Treaty #3.

“This is all about science, technology, engineering and math what we see out there. [Indigenous people] are the original scientists in Canada, so it’s so exciting to learn,” said Ryan Land, Director of Education and Northern Programs.

“In this instance its about seeing the contributions of what we know and have learned today, pre-existed the history that we saw early on in textbooks and in school. These contributions still matter and show up not only on our table, in the case of wild rice, but also in technology and innovation.”

Grade 8 student, Bella Carlson, spoke about their day at the Discovery Centre.

“We got to learn about how they cure wild rice and we got to check out the Guiness World Records [exhibit] and we got to find something outside, learn about it by reading some of the books in here and then exchange that information for points towards prizes,” she said.

The Science Festival finishes up on Saturday with a free Science Carnival under the Whitecap Pavilion. The carnival will have engaging and fun science, innovation, and technology activities; exhibitors showcasing hands-on presentations, labs and attractions; and live science shows and entertainment. It is open from 11:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m.

Bella Carlson checks out some moss with a Science North employee.
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