Early Ojibwe by: Rebecca Hoffman
After harvesting their crops, the Ojibwe left their summer villages
and once again set out for a new destination. In the fall, or dagwaagin
(dah-GWAG-in), they went to the ponds, marshes, and lakes where
wild rice grew. The seeds, or grain, from wild rice plants were among
the Ojibwe’s favorite foods and the focus of their lives during the days
of early autumn.
Since the rice grew in water, the Ojibwe harvested it from canoes.
Each canoe only had two people in it. The person in back pushed the canoe
through the rice fields using a long pole, and the person in front bent the
stalks and tapped the grain heads with a stick until the rice fell into
the canoe. After hours of work, the grain heaped up in the bottom.
Often the children helped in the harvest, learning from their elders
how to gather rice properly. Once the rice was harvested, it was time
to head back to shore and prepare the rice for storage.