Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Wild Ricing in Manitoba

Wild Ricing in Manitoba
Installed 1990
Nutimik Lake Museum, PR 307
Whiteshell Provincial Park

Wild rice, or manomin to the Ojibwa, has been a staple food of local Native people for more than a thousand years. This tall grass spread slowly northwards from Minnesota and is now common in the shallow, still waters of many lakes and streams in the Whiteshell, and along the east side of Lake Winnipeg as far as Norway House.

Manomin ripens in September. In earlier days, harvesters would paddle into the rice stands, beat the stalks over the gunwales of their canoes and fill the canoes with grain in a few hours. During harvests, families involved in wild ricing congregated for festivities and religious ceremonies. Wild rice provided up to one-quarter of the diet of some Native groups. Abundant supplies of this nutritious grain, obtained from the Natives, sustained European traders and explorers on their travels into the western interior of Canada. Today, the harvesting of wild rice is still an important element of local economy.