Nibi and Manoomin Bridging Worldviews Symposium

2017: Accountable Relationships

Hold the date: The 2017 Nibi and Manoomin Symposium, Co-hosted by White Earth Nation, will be held on

Oct. 10-11 at the Shooting Star Hotel and Event Center
777 Casino Raod, Mahnomen MN

To make reservations for conference attendance please contact the Shoting Star Hotel at 1 (800) 453-STAR(7827) to book a room. There will be a pre-conference workshop on engaging with the conference to be held on the evening of Oct. 9 at the Shooting Star. Ask for the Nibi and Manoomin Symposium room block to receive a reduced rate for lodging.  

Our theme this year is: Accountable Relationships.

We have met in previous symposia to build greater understanding betwen tribal and university interests involving manoomin (wild rice) and nibi (water) and to discuss ways we can develop new, more trusting pathways forward. While these gatherings were well attended and meaningful, we have not had the opportunity to discuss what accountable relationships require and how we can agree to actions with impact that are trusting and (most importantly) binding. This year we will speak directly to that question. White Earth Chairman Terry Tibbetts, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and others will attend the symposium as we seek to learn what accouintability means and how we can commit to respectful, collaboratively developed agendas with articulated, agreed upon outcomes.  Too often words, while powerful and well intended, don't result in real action. We will look to engage with leadership and community as we discuss expectations for accountable responses to key articulated needs.

Preliminary Program

Monday, October 9

Evening Pre-symposium workshop: “Respect and Reciprocity: Holding Ourselves Accountable”

Tuesday, October 10
Invocation (Mike Smith) and drum (Eagle Spirit) Remembering Amik (Renee Gurneau)
Introduction to the Symposium: “The Rights of Mother Earth”
Welcome with elected Tribal and University Leadership
     Terry Tibbetts, Chairman, White Earth Nation
     Eric Kaler, President, University of Minnesota
     Kevin DuPuis, Chair of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and Chairman Fond du lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (tentative)
     Brian Buhr, Dean College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Panel Discussion with Q&A—“What is Necessary for an Accountable Relationship between the University of Minnesota and Tribal Partners?”
     Terry Tibbetts, Chairman, White Earth Nation
     Eric Kaler, President, University of Minnesota
     Tara Mason, Secretary Treasurer, White Earth Nation
     Scott Lanyon, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education, U MN
Presentation: Brian Buhr, Dean College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) “Wild Rice Research and Accountability at CFANS-Where are we at?”
Traditional Knowledge Panel
Wrap-up, “Messages from Today”
Water Ceremony, Edith (Bardo) Leoso

Wednesday, October 11
Invocation (Mike Smith) and drum (Eagle Spirit)
Presentation: Kyle Whyte "Accountability, Responsibility and Justice: A Neshnabé View”
Table conversations/presentations on “Building a Protocol of Accountability”
Presentation: Karen Diver, "Upholding Tribal Treaty Rights: Holding Government Accountable"
Nibi Center – "Where We’re At"
Presentation: MPCA "Sulfate Standards Update"
Presentation: Tonya Kjerland, “Wild Rice Monitoring Methods”
Wrap-up observations
Traveling Song

Nibi Manoomin Symposium, 2015

Oshki-mikanensan Ji-wiidanokindiyang Weweni Niigaan Akeyan (New Pathways for a Shared Future)

(Hosted by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the University of Minnesota)

This is the fourth biennial symposium on protecting wild rice and water. It is co-hosted by the University of Minnesota and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (earlier hosts included the White Earth Nation). These symposia offer an important opportunity for the university and Anishinaabe communities to learn about their shared concerns and responsibilities impacting wild rice and water. It offers time for University researchers and personnel to better understand native perspectives on water and wild rice, an opportunity for the university to present on research involving wild rice and time for building connections that may result in collaborations between tribal and university partners

Monday, Sept.28 - Tuesday, Sept. 29 
Grand Casino Mille Lacs 
Presentations and breakout sessions will include:
1) Memorandum of Understanding: University research/wild rice/ GMO
2) Women and Water: Anishinaabe Perspectives
3) Water Center(s): Indigenous Knowledge and Research
4) Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Technical Discussion on Sulfate Standards 

Memorandum of Understanding Working Group Meetings

At the 2013 Nibi and Manoomin Symposium, held at the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, we broke into working groups to address key issues that impact manoomin and water.  The Nibi and Manoomin Bridging Worldviews Committee hosted two meetings that focused on issues raised during the small group sessions where we considered designing an agreement representing the interests of Tribes and the University of Minnesota on how research should be conducted, tribes consulted, and what research can be considered appropriate when it involves wild rice. Click the link below to read the key ideas that came out of these meetings.

PDF icon MOU meetings - key ideas.pdf

Nibi and Manoomin: Building Lasting Relationships Symposium, 2013

(Hosted by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the University of Minnesota)

Thank you to everyone who presented and participated in the 2013 Nibi and Manoomin: Building Lasting Relationships Symposium, held on September 25-27, at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs, in Onamia, MN.

“Nibi and Manoomin: Building Lasting Relationships” was the third in a series of gatherings designed to exchange teachings between Anishinaabe and Western scientific cultural worldviews. These symposia bring researchers from the University together with tribal elders, leadership, and community members from across northern Minnesota to share knowledge about manoomin, build understanding, strengthen relationships, and cultivate good will between traditional knowledge bearers and scientists. The 2013 symposium, “Nibi and Manoomin: Building Lasting Relationships,” offered another occasion to exchange teachings between Western and Anishinaabe cultural views.

Nibi and Manoomin: Bridging Worldviews Symposium, 2011

 (Hosted by the White Earth Tribal Council and the University of Minnesota) *Directed/Edited by Teresa Konechne/Working Hands Productions 2011

This symposium built on work that began two years ago between tribal communities and the University of Minnesota. The first symposium (2009) brought researchers from the University together with tribal elders from across northern Minnesota. It offered an opportunity to share knowledge about manoomin and build a better understanding between native knowledge holders and University researchers on wild rice in a good way. That initial gathering was very powerful and long overdue. One outcome of the symposium was a request by tribal members in attendance for more opportunities to share stories, research, and learning and build trust so that wild rice is appreciated as a sacred gift from the creator by us all--this second symposium honored that request. Another outcome of the initial meeting was to draft a wild rice white paper. This paper would identify issues where University and tribal interests could begin to engage in meaningful dialogue on wild rice research conducted at the University and offer recommendations for action. The document was completed and has been presented to the University.