Early Ojibwe

Autumn (In Ojibwe, Dagwaagin)

By Abby Titus

Wild Rice (In Ojibwe, manoomin)

In the fall they moved to near by ponds, marshes, and lakes. They went to these ponds, marshes, and lakes because wild rice grew there. Wild rice was one of the Ojibwe people's favorite foods. Wild Rice grew in the water so they had to harvest it using canoes. One person would push the canoe using a long pole, the other would bend the stalks and tap the grain head with a stick until the grains fell into the canoe. After harvesting them they spread the rice out on large sheets of birch bark so that it could dry. Next they roasted it over a fire and poured it into a hole lined with hide. Then men and children would remove the husks off the grains by stepping on them while wearing clean moccasins. Finally they put the rice on trays and lightly tossed it into the air so that the wind could blow away anything remaining outer coverings.

Preparations for the coming Winter

If you didn't help with the wild rice harvest there were other things you did to help prepare for the coming Winter. Children collected late-season berries and dried them for later use. Men and women caught, and then preserved fish to use during the Winter when food was scarce. Geese and ducks were hunted by the men. Before it got too cold they packed everything up, and moved to smaller more insulated villages where they would spend their cold Winter.