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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Tuominen, L.K. [1].

Protecting Manoomin (Zizania palustris L.):  History of an Environmental Justice Challenge.

As a staple grain, manoomin (Zizania palustris L., wild rice) plays a central role in the traditional foodways and culture of the Anishinaabe Ojibwe peoples living in and around the upper Great Lakes region of North America.  During the mid-1800s, European colonization of this region dramatically reduced the local tribes’ land rights in the eyes of the federal government, but associated treaties protected rights to off-reservation hunting, spearfishing, and harvesting of traditional plant foods, including manoomin.  Nearly a century passed before this plant drew the interest of ecologist John Moyle, who studied factors influencing its growth, abundance, and distribution across lakes and streams in Minnesota.  Moyle documented sulfate as a factor limiting manoomin growth across study sites; based on knowledge that sulfate is not typically toxic to cultivated crop plants, he later speculated that conversion of sulfate to sulfide could be responsible for the pattern he observed.  In the 1970s, the State of Minnesota used Moyle’s research as the scientific basis for a water quality regulatory standard of 10 mg/L to help protect manoomin under increasing anthropogenic pressures from the majority culture.  However, enforcement of the established regulation was weak for several decades, and a majority culture stakeholder group initiated litigation in 2011 to remove the rule entirely.  This legal challenge has led to a decade-long effort involving all three branches of Minnesota’s government, tribal governments, environmental scientists, local and regional infrastructure, mining industry, and environmental activists to more clearly establish the science underlying manoomin decline and to build consensus on effective means of using the scientific knowledge to benefit the species.  Because this recent history is both scientifically and socially complex, it represents a rich case study for teaching environmental justice and/or environmental policy across the curriculum.

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1 - United States

environmental justice
Public Policy
Aquatic plants

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P1, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1RT001
Abstract ID:1370
Candidate for Awards:None

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