Entry Detail

Zizania aquatica L.
wild rice, Indian wheat


Entry Type:  
Species
Scientific Name:  
Zizania aquatica L.
Common Name:  
wild rice, Indian wheat
Myaamia Name:  
naloomina
Description:  

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
Thwaites, R.G. (ed.) 1903 Related Info 

" . . .and the river upon which we row'd, to find the place we were to land and carry our canow into the other, was so full of wild-oats, that it lookt [sic] rather like a corn-field than a river, insomuch that we cou'd hardly discover its channel. As the Miamis frequented this place [somewhere in southern Wisconsin], they conducted us to the usual place of portage . . .".

Dunn, J.P. ca. 1900 Use - Food 

'nalomína', "rice (wild)"

Aatotankiki myaamiaki 1998-2006 Use - Food 

There is a plant called "indian wheat".

Gonella, M.P 2003-2006 Use - Food 

Wild rice was probably traded and harvested in Myaamia territory, since it grows in the area. Wild rice used to grow in the Fort Wayne area, approximately in the 1980s and before, but the certain type of wet area it needs are diminishing.

Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 Use - Food 

"nalúmina", "wheat"

Gravier, J. ca. 1700 Use - Food 

"rar8mina",  "folle avoine" ('wild oats')

Gleason, H.A. and Cronquist, A. 1991 Habitat 

Occurs along shores and associated wetland areas in north-eastern Myaamia lands.

Steyermark, J.A. 1963 Habitat 

Occurs in swamps and borders of ponds and streams in western Myaamia lands in southeastern Missouri.

Botanical Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Gonella, M.P 2003-2006 Habitat

There are reportings of wild rice in northern Indiana, south to about the Wabash, mostly in and around the Kankakee marsh.

Deam, C. 1940 Habitat

Wild rice included in early flora of Indiana, occuring in Lake, Laporte, Newton and Jasper Counties (all northwest corner of the state, bordering on Lake Michigan or just south of the border county).

Related Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Thwaites, R.G. (ed.) 1903  

Louis Joliet described the Menominees gathering and use of wild rice in 1673: "The Wild Oats, from which they have got their name, is a sort of corn which grows naturally in the small rivers, the bottom whereof is Owzie [oozy or slimy], as also in marshy grounds. It is much like our European oats; the stem is knotted, and grows about two foot above the surface of the water. The corn is not bigger than ours, but it is twice as long, and therefore it yields much more meal. It grows above the water in June, and the savages gather it about September in this manner: They go in their canows into those rivers, and as they go they shake the ears of corn in their canows, which easily falls, if it be ripe: They dry it upon the fire, and when it is very dry, they put it into a kind of sack made with the skin of beasts; and having made a hole in the ground, they put their sack therein, and tread on it till they see the chaff is separated from the corn, which they winnow afterwards. They pound it in a mortar to reduce it into meal, or else boil it in water, and season it with grease, which makes it near as good as our rice".

Costa, D.J. 2000  

The Miami-Illinois name for the Menominee is naloomina, which means people of the wild rice.

McPherson, A. and S. McPherson. 1977  

Wild rice "was a favorite food of the Potawatomie Indians because it could be kept for use in the winter when other vegetable foods and meat were scarce or difficult to obtain".

Kenton, E. 1925  

Menominees gathered and used wild rice.

Shultz, A. and Zomer, F. 2019  

Persistent annual grass that reproduces from seeds. Growth occurs immediately after ice melt in shalow waters (1-3ft), where the substrate is soft and organic. Other factors affecting its growth include water turbidity, substrate type, sediment nutrient levels, wave energy, and water level fluctuations.

Shultz, A. and Zomer, F. 2019  

Manoomin means 'good berry' in Ojibwe. Ojibwe migrated to Lake Superior region due to the abundant rice fields.

David, P. and David., L. 2015  

Ainishinaabe (Ojibway or Chippewa) call wild rice 'manoomin' and collect wild rice in selected ceded territories. 

Bush, L. 2001  

Wild rice identified at at the Crouch site of the Smith Valley Complex of archaeological sites, south of Indianapolis. Attribution unclear: Huber Phase Oneota, Missisippian peoples of eastern Illinois or other.

This was originally identified as Oliver Phase (1200-1450) and likely Myaamia, but has been corrected (personal communication with Leslie Bush, June 3, 2019). – Michael Gonella
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission 2022  

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), comprised of eleven Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan supports programs for wild rice harvesters, practicing traditional manoomin gathering methods and innovating with new methods as well.