Professor Kevin Noble Maillard Writes on the Intersection of Indigenous Rice Crops and Climate Change

Professor Kevin Noble Maillard has contributed “How Wild Rice Forecasts Climate Change” in The New York Times. Maillard examines how manoomin, a crop vital to the Indigenous peoples of the Upper Midwest, has been threatened in recent years due to climate change and how it is being restored.

Maillard notes, Climate change and human impact have significantly depleted the natural abundance of manoomin, the “good berry” as wild rice is known in Anishinaabemowin, an Indigenous language also known as Ojibwe, and protecting it is synonymous with preserving cultural identity.

He continues, Threats to wild manoomin have spurred restoration movements in Indigenous nations, and legal and educational institutions have stepped in to help. The White Earth Nation has sought to enforce the “rights of manoomin” under several historic treaties, and a number of Indigenous bands have partnered with universities for research and data collection. As Karen Diver, the senior adviser to the president of the University of Minnesota for Native American affairs, explained, “researchers are impacted and informed not just by science, but by understanding the cultural values of the tribe.”

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