Manito Gitigaan : governing in the Great Spirit's garden : wild rice in Treaty #3

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Kinew, Kathi Avery
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This thesis offers an example of indigenous government public policy making and intergovernmental relations between the Boundary Waters Anishinaabeg and the Crown, from the mid nineteenth to late twentieth centuries. The case of Manomin (wild rice) in the Treaty #3 Boundary Waters territory (at the juncture of Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota) is examined as a symbol of the constitutional conflict between Crown and Anishinaabe governments: is wild rice a natural resource owned by the Crown or a gift from the Creator given to the Anishinaabe? Secondly, the history of wild rice and the Anishinaabe science and system of management is the story of one of longest continuing forms of indigenous self-government in Canada. Thirdly, manomin stands as a metaphor for the struggles of the Anishinaabe peoples in asserting their treaty and aboriginal rights, through years of suppression. An organic model of the suppression and expression of aboriginal, treaty and Anishinaabe rights is presented. The study draws from data collected from archival and government files from 1860s to 1980s, as well as interviews of Anishinaabe leaders, Elders, rice harvesters and business people, Crown government negotiators, and the insight of a key informant. This is an interdisciplinary study, drawing upon the methodology and frameworks offered by Anthropology, Political Studies, Native Studies and Law.