The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit was about more than food sovereignty; it was also a way to share traditional skills, like making ricing sticks for harvesting wild rice and Haudenosaunee planting sticks that can be used for more than just planting.
Among the hands-on workshops and skill sharing circles for traditional skills were ones offered by Roger LaBine to learn how to make ricing sticks, or how to make planting sticks with Clayton Bascoupe.
Roger LaBine, Lake Superior Chippewa, held a workshop at the summit where he taught the traditional skill of making wild rice or manoomin knocking sticks.
“So when Labor Day comes around they can go out and harvest themselves some rice,” LaBine says in the video.
The ricing sticks are made out of white cedar at work benches that are made to help those making the sticks give them a more rounded shape. They end up looking kind of like long drum sticks. When ricing in pairs, one person pushes the boat while the other gently knocks the seeds loose from the top of the plant with the sticks, making sure it falls into the center of the boat.
Watch the attendees make ricing sticks below:
Clayton Brascoupe, Mohawk/Tesuque Pueblo, taught a traditional skills workshop o how to make Haudenosaunee planting sticks.
“You can plant with them, you can build garden mounds with these and cut weeds with them,” Brascoupe explains in the video.
He has one he has been using to plant two acres of land for the last 20 years and the blade has only worn down about two inches; “so they’ll hold up too,” Brascoupe says in the video.
“The very first one I made actually came from a sample I saw in a museum… and I started figuring out how to use them,” he says.
Watch the attendees make Haudenosaunee planting sticks and demonstrate how they are used below: