Protecting Our Relationship With Manòmin
Manòmin is a self seeding aquatic plant that is Indigenous to North America. It is very sensitive to water levels and grows predominately in sandy soil. It is found near the banks of rivers and sometimes in the openings of lakes where there is moving water. Water levels are particularly important at the floating leaf stage, and will only grow in rivers and lakes where the water level has minimum fluctuations.
Manòmin ripens over a period of many days, which is not always predictable. The harvest season varies from year to year depending on the weather and water levels. When it does ripen fully, the wind often knocks the seeds onto the water where some is eaten by birds, insects and other animals. Some of the seeds sink to the bottom and thus begin the process of receding for future years.
Manòmin exists in relationship to everything around it. The water (Nibi in Algonquin) flows all around the plant and brings nourishment to it. The roots exist in relationship to the mud and sand and they exist in relation to the water and Manòmin. The fish and insects in the water also exist in relation to Manòmin and the water, as well as the sand and mud and all other things that also exist in this aquatic environment. The phrase All My Relations really applies in this context and reminds us that we have relationships with all part of the Natural World within our homeland.
Manòmin, was a gift from the Creator and as such it nourishes our spirits as well as our bodies. We have a very special relationship with Manòmin that has been maintained by our ancestors for hundreds of years in this place and thousands of years at other sites within the Great Lakes.