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Anishinaabe Wild Rice Experience is a family operated business that provides an authentic cultural hands-on activity for learners who want to experience harvesting and processing wild rice in a traditional and contemporary setting. The Friday Family can trace their harvesting of wild rice from Whitefish Lake several generations and want to share this traditional way of life of harvesting wild rice.
Their mission is to preserve a traditional way of life of the Ojibway peoples and to share and teach others how to harvest wild rice.
The learning site is located 70 kms (44 miles) southwest of Thunder Bay, ON and 60 kms (37 miles) from the Canada/US Border at Whitefish Lake
A poler and ricer paddle through the dense rice beds. While the poler at the front of the canoe moves forward through the fields, the ricer with two cedar sticks reaches out and bends as many stalks as she can over the side of the boat using one stick then gently knocks the stalk with her other stick. Ripe rice will fall into the canoe and gather at the bottom. This process is repeated until the bottom of the canoe is full of rice.
To help get rid of moisture before roasting, the wild rice needs to be dried immediately. Scatter it out with a rake on a canvas to remove pieces of stalk and leaves, weeds, and rice worms. Constantly turning the rice helps the drying process. Estimate time for drying from 4 hours to 24 hours depending on weather.
Parching is done to destroy the germ. This prevents the kernel from sprouting so that it can be kept for storage. The rice is constantly stirred with a special cedar paddle in a lifting motion to keep it from burning. Roasting time is about 15 to 25 minutes. The drier the rice, the more easily and quickly it parches. Hotter the fire, the faster the rice must be turned.
in the traditional or contemporary method, the rice needs to be hulled to remove the close knitting chaff from the kernel.
hulling pits – 18 inches deep and 2 – 3 feet in diameter
Removing the chaff from the rice