November camp was a time for review of where we have been with the manoomin project for the last few years as well as beginning to establish connections with the oral traditions. Friday night Tom House, FDL Natural Resources, talked about Bang Lake. He shared what was known concerning the land use around Bang Lake. It was good to see what has been documented by elders on Fond du Lac reservation. The students were encouraged to gather their information for future generations as well. The LacCore scientists talked about each of their specific areas of study. We hoped to build a baseline before students conduct their own study on Bang Lake throughout this year.
Saturday morning everyone gathered at Bang Lake. LacCore collected core samples and diatom samples while students collected macro-fossil samples along the shoreline. These collections will be studied throughout the year in the FDLTCC Science labs.
Early afternoon allowed students to cut open their core and take a look. The core, even though short provided a focal point to discuss our history. Lowana Greensky led a short history lesson, pointing out on the core the Cloquet Fire in 1819, the year the 1854 Treaty was signed, 1862 – 38 +2 Lakota hung/Sioux uprising, Lincoln assassinated 1865, 1927 allowing American Indians the right to vote in the United States, Education Act 1944, Self Determination Act – November 5th, 1990 among other dates 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the 1787 Northwest Ordinance.
Saturday late afternoon was spent with Louis Wise, an elder from the Fond du Lac Reservation. He grew up near Perch Lake and Bang Lake where the core and samples were gathered in the morning. He talked about how his family managed the water flow down the river into the wild rice lakes. His Grandma lived by Perch Lake and was paid $15/month dam fee to manage the water flow.
He also remembered that she made flour out of the moose ear. (Did the flour came for the bulb? Purple flower?) He remembers that his Grandma (endorsed by ?) would put boards (a dam) into the inlet to regulate the water level at Perch Lake. The rice committee also considered the water level and it’s impact on wild rice growth. Sometimes the people would disagree. Is the water running to fast? Too low? Is the dam open? Closed? In the night changes would happen. He remembered the muskrats that lived on the lake and talked about how their being on the lake assisted them in managing the moose ears.
Mr. Wise studied Biology at the University of Minnesota. Years ago he worked for the Fond du Lac Reservation in the Natural Resources. He shared with students what makes the rice grow best. That wild rice needs abrupt oxygen, temperature
and nutritional changes to grow. The water levels had to be brought down in
January. This causes the ice to drop down, creating waves (open water),
pushing (providing additional?) oxygen into the water. The sun would then be able to reach the bottom causing a temperature change. The seeds could then germinate. The management of the water flowing under the ice allowed for an abrupt early opening of the water which enabling the sun to reach the wild rice seeds – allowing them to germinate and grow. Students listened for nearly two hours.
Stuents also read three articles on the wolf hunt currently going on in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Discussion and opinions were shared as we learn to understand this issue better.
Brief presentations by students were given to parents on Sunday.