In this bilingual book, an Anishinaabe child explores the story of a precious mnoomin seed and the circle of life mnoomin sustains.
Written in Anishinaabemowin and English, the story opens at harvest time. A child holds a mnoomin seed and imagines all the life that made a single seed possible—Mayfly, Pike, Muskrat, Eagle and Moose, all had a part to play in bringing the seed into being. What will happen if the seed sprouts? Underwater leaves will shelter young fish, shoots will protect ducklings, stalks will feed larvae, in turn providing food for bats…until finally mnoomin will be ready to harvest again.
We follow the child and family through a harvest day as they make offerings of tobacco, then gently knock ripe seeds into their canoe. On shore, they prepare the seeds, cook up a feast, and gratefully plant some seeds they’d set aside.
This beautifully written and illustrated story reveals the cultural and ecological importance of mnoomin. As the author’s note explains, many Anishinaabeg agree that “wild rice” is an inaccurate term for this plant relation, since part of the harvest is sown every year to help sustain human and non-human beings. Includes a translator’s note.
Brittany Luby, of Anishinaabe descent, was raised on Treaty #3 Lands in what is currently known as northwestern Ontario. She is an associate professor of history at the University of Guelph who seeks to stimulate public discussion of Indigenous issues through her work. Her picture books include the award-winning Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley.
Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley is an Ojibwe woodland artist and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. His art aims to reclaim and promote traditional Ojibwe stories and teachings in a contemporary woodland style. He has held several solo art exhibitions across Turtle Island. Joshua has illustrated the award-winning picture book Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know by Brittany Luby, among others. He spends his time living both in Vancouver and Wasauksing First Nation.
Mary Anne Corbiere grew up in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island speaking Nishnaabemwin. She taught her language at the University of Sudbury for many years, obtained a doctorate and continues to work on instructional resources for adult learners. She now lives in Lively, Ontario.