Did you know that the survival of Manoomin (“the good berry,” aka wild rice, aka Zizania palustris) is enshrined in the treaty between the Ojibwe people and the US federal government? And that such treaties, of which there are dozens, “are the supreme law of the land” according to the US Constitution?
Neither did I, but I do now thanks to a fascinating podcast from 99% Invisible on The Rights of Rice and the Future of Nature. I also now know that some people think those two things (leavened with some decidedly out-of-the-box reasoning) mean that Manoomin can sue the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. It’s because of an oil pipeline that the Ojibwa people believe threatens the wild rice populations that are so important to them that they put their well-being in a treaty. We blogged about the pipeline, perhaps a bit too succinctly, a few years back.
What I don’t know is what would happen if buffel grass were to follow its Minnesotan cousin’s example.