White Earth Land Recovery Project
The mission of the White Earth Land Recovery Project is to facilitate the recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage.
News and Upcoming Events
Job announcement: Toxic Taters hiring Campaign Coordinator for North-Central Minnesota area
The Toxic Taters Coalition is seeking a part-time (30 hours per week) coordinator for their campaign to decrease pesticide drift in the potato-producing region of Minnesota. The position is geographically flexible, but must be located close to North-Central Minnesota (near Frazee, Detroit Lakes, etc.). The Coordinator is accountable to priorities of the Toxic Taters Coalition, and reports to Pesticide Action Network’s Midwest Organizer. This position is currently funded through spring 2015. To apply, submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the right candidate is identified. Interviews will begin on July 1st, 2014. For more information, please see the job announcement.
The Toxic Taters coalition is made up of small farmers, White Earth tribal members, parents, grandparents, and other rural community members who are being affected by pesticides drifting from potato fields in northern Minnesota. We encourage and support agricultural production that does not harm people or animals (domestic and wild) or pollute the air or water. Check out their fact sheet here.
Niijii Radio featured in AlJazeera article, “Radio on the Reservation”
Check out our mention in “Radio on the Reservation,” an AlJazeera article detailing the important role that radio plays in Native American communities. Our very own Margaret Rousu, Niijii Radio General Manager, contributed the following comments to AlJazeera:
“We’re trying to work harder to get more language in, but it’s been a challenge because there are so few speakers,” said Margaret Rousu, general manager for Niijii Radio on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. “Language is incorporated in a few different ways in the station, and we’re actually working to incorporate it more because we feel, as a native station, we don’t have enough right now.”
Currently, Niijii Radio broadcasts programs like Dibaajimowin — which is an Ojibwe word that means “telling stories” or “to tell something” and which explores the history of the community, plays stories in Ojibwe and facilitates translation from English to Ojibwe. The station is looking to create more programming in Ojibwe and is working with the local Head Start program to bolster language proficiency in the community.
“I want to say we have maybe four speakers on our reservation who are fluent, and the other speakers that we have, they are still learning,” said Rousu. “We know we haven’t gotten to the point where we need to be on that yet.”
“Ji Misawaabandaaming: Positive Window Shopping for Your Future”
Winona LaDuke and Robert DesJarlait hang out at an Indigenous economics presentation at the College of St. Scholastica. Robert is a member of Protect Our Manoomin, an organization dedicated to opposing mining legislation that endangers manoomin and the ecosystem of northern Minnesota.
See our recent mention in Al Jazeera: “Eating Indigenously Changes Diets and Lives of Native Americans”
“Elsewhere, Winona LaDuke’s Native Harvest connects Indians on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation with the gathering of traditional foods such as wild rice, corn and maple syrup not only for consumption but also for sale internationally as premium, organic products. Profits from Native Harvest support the affiliated White Earth Land Recovery Project, which aims to reclaim the original land base and preserve original land practices.”
Seed savers gathered for a one-day workshop hosted at the White Earth Tribal and Community College on September 23rd, 2013.
Zachary Paige, a graduate of the Native Seed SEARCH “Seed School” and an AmeriCorps VISTA with the White Earth Land Recovery Project, lead the hands-on workshop covering all things seed saving, such as how to save tomato seeds through fermentation, threshing and winnowing, flower dissection, and germination tests.
White Earth Wild Rice Harvest: Manoominikewaag
Manoomin, “The Food That Grows on the Water,” Harvest Season 2013: Manoominike Giizis (The Ricing Moon) is a time of age-old traditions filled with memories of family and friends, and the memories of those before us who have harvested Manoomin, or wild rice, in the same way for thousands of years in our Anishinaabe Akiing–the land of our people. As we watch the Manoomin sway from side to side as we enter the canoe, it’s as if they dance to the excitement shared by generations. Manoomin is grown naturally in the lakes and rivers of Northern Minnesota and is hand-harvested and wood parched by tribal members using traditional methods.
Check out the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative
The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative was launched in September 2011 and is open to all those interested in developing a coherent platform for promoting the translation of expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy and sustainable land management for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services. Visit the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative website here!
The Earth’s soils are living, dynamic interfaces that are habitats for millions of microbial and animal species. The activities of soil biota are critical to the wellbeing of human societies because their activities underpin the delivery of major ecosystem services. Without soil biota, the soil resource as we know it would not exist, and soil recovery in most ecosystems would proceed at orders of magnitude less than a snail’s pace. Net primary productivity would be dramatically reduced by much slower rates of nutrient cycling, and therefore lower plant nutrient availability and nutrient effects would be exacerbated by water limitations as the lack of a stable soil structure would maintain relatively low plant available water holding capacities and even lower infiltration rates. Soil organisms are responsible for ensuring that the nutrients necessary to produce the ear of corn that we will consume next year will be made available from last year’s roots and residues. They are also responsible for sustaining the soil’s capacity to provide us with food in the decades and centuries to come: even the reduced levels of production predicted for lifeless soils would be virtually impossible to sustain without soil biota due to lower resistance to degradation and the lack of key recovery processes.
Visit the Anishinaabe Seed Project website here!
In little time, we’ve gathered up all of our previously saved seeds; we’re also working to perform germination tests. Currently, we’re identifying seed sources–in our region and beyond–along with farmers, gardeners, and other allies who have an interest in assisting us in the restoration of Native seed varieties.