Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24• MANOOMIN • By Peter David, GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Spur Lake, Oneida County, 1987. Spur Lake, Oneida County, 2015. “A piece of jerky, my girl?” Like he even needs to ask. It’s the first thing I hear when I sit down with Myron Burns, Sr, and his son Bill. Everyone calls Myron “Burnsie” on the Bad River Reservation in far northern Wisconsin. Burnsie and Bill run a small wild rice processing business out of Burnsie’s backyard and in a shed with a parching machine, homemade wild rice thresher, and a rice separator that they bought from someone in Nebraska.Anall-aroundoutdoorsman,Burnsiehelped build and repair wild rice processing equipment for other tribal members in the community. About five years ago he decided to process wild rice himself. Through trial and error, he and Bill have perfectedtheirprocessingequipmentdowntoanexact science, including a very precise amount of time for threshing the rice. Today, Burnsie and Bill work with about ten wild rice harvesters, both tribal and non- tribal, all of which come back to the Burns’year after year for their wild rice processing needs. “Being honest with our customers is what brings themback,”saysBurnsieasheshowsoffhishomemade threshing machine. While wild rice is all they think about in late summer, Burnsie is never one to be idle. In between football games, baseball games, and family functions, Burnsie is usually smoking fish in his backyard or pro- cessing venison into summer sausage, bacon, and his incredible jerky. Traditional foods like fish, wild rice, berries, maple syrup, hominy, and venison are things that Burnsie has been working with his whole life. And just like with the wild rice processing, Burn- sie’s whole family pitches in to help him. His daughter Etta helps him smoke fish and his son Myron, Jr helps with jerky and bacon made from the venison that hunt- ers give him based on a barter system. For years, Burnsie and his wife Judy would assist grievingfamiliesintheBadRivercommunitybycook- ing and serving the funeral feast food, which has now been passed on to his son Bill. With all the venison and wild rice he gets from processing, Burnsie gives as much back to the community as he can, donating to funerals and to the elderly that do not have anyone to “rice” for them. His advice for young entrepreneurs and tribal youth hoping to work more with traditional foods is to learn from their elders by watching them. “Ask to come watch how we do things, like jerky. But I don’t just make the jerky for them, I let people make it and ask questions. That’s how they learn,” says Burnsie. Throughouttheyears,tribalyouthhavementoredwith Burnsie to learn how to work with traditional foods, whichissomethingthatBurnsiewantstohappenmore often so practices and traditions do not get lost. “If I share how to work with fish or venison with someone, then I leave something behind that’s worth leaving behind. There’s no reason for me to take everything I know with me when I pass on,” he says.BurnsieandBilllookforwardtomentoringmore tribalyouthinwildriceprocessingandhopetoexpand their business with smoked fish and jerky, something they’ve been doing as a family for years. And as I leave with pockets full of venison jerky, I can’t help feeling like part of the family. Myron Burns, Sr (Burnsie) and Bill Burns can be reached via www.manoomin.com. Editor’s note: Myron and Bill Burns are part of a three-state GLIFWC project called Manoomin–the GoodBerry,fundedbytheFirstNationsDevelopment Institute. By LaTisha Coffin Grant Project Coordinator Myron Burns, Sr shows off his homemade threshing machine. (LaTisha Coffin photo) (See Manoomin, page 11) Spur Lake inspires introspection, collaboration Some would say another manoomin season is over. The harvest period has passed. Plants once lush and green are now dead and brown and falling out of sight beneath the dark water of late autumn. But manoomin is a reminder that in the Ojibwe world view, nature is a circle, not a line. The life and vibrancy of the summer beds has not been lost, but is transformed and concentrated. It lies in the promise of the next generation, encoded in the seeds, buried in the lake-bottom muck. The circle—we hope—has no ending, no “over”, just a rotation to the next phase of the cycle. But is this always true? The harvest phase of the cycle that just passed was a challenging one for many. Biologists are still working to document harvest volumes, however modest, across the wild ricelandscape.But thecrop was belowaverage;manybeds were hit with intense growing-season storms in July and the weather during the harvest window was only moderately cooperative. In ways, the manoomin seemed to still be getting its strength back from the generally very good season it had in 2015—and studies on nutrient cycling suggest there is some science to support this perspective. The great annual variability of the manoomin crop has long been recognized in the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of the Ojibwe, and that knowledge gives us some assurances that this poor year is not a predictor of another tough season in 2017. But we also know that that TEK was gleaned over centuries when ecological change was relatively slow, and when manoomin and the other parts of the natural community faced few of the threats they face today. Does the circle ever come to an end? When constancy turns upside down Spur Lake in east-central Oneida County was once a go-to manoomin lake in Wisconsin, capable of supporting rice over nearly all of its 113 acres. No one @ Harvest survey ? Please complete and return your harvest survey from GLIFWC—even if you never went out! Traditional foods with Burnsie It’s a family affair PAGE 7 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2016-17