Our weekend retreat to the Cloquet Foresty Center to participate in the Manoomin Project with students from the Fond du Lac Reservation was a great success. About a half of our group spent Saturday at UMD volunteering for the regional science fair where 27 Native high school kids participated. One of the Fond du Lac student projects was selected as a grand prize winner and a slot in the Intel International Science Fair (IISF). A dozen other projects were selected to go on to the the National American Indian Science Fair in March with the opportunity to represent AISES at the IISF.
The other half of our group went to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to explore microscopic evidence that wild rice has been present in the area for mor than 3,000 years. In addition to the wild rice or manoomin, researchers have also found evidence that ancient local Ahishanaabe people also used significant maize or corn too. Throughout the weekend, our class members got to know tribal students, staff and elders. Photos provided by Juan.
Too often we come to rely upon the experts who teach our classes for knowledge of a discipline rather than the experiences and knowledge of the students who add value to our own understanding. As we begin our first day of class, I must reflect back upon previous sections of this class and give them credit for their enlightenment. I am not the same person I was four years ago - I have learned from the collective wisdom of the students. Current students will benefit greatly from the previous groups. It is my hope that this forum will allow students to share their individual insights, reflections, and knowledge with each other, friends, family, and other interested parties.