Tribally-Led Consultation on the Ethical Use of Sedimentary Ancient DNA for a Culturally Important Plant: Manoomin, Psin, Zizania (Wild Rice)

Authors

  • Amy Myrbo Science Museum of Minnesota https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1686-7672
  • Darren Vogt 1854 Treaty Authority
  • Nancy Schuldt Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Thomas Howes Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Ron Schirmer Minnesota State University Mankato
  • Karen Diver Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.58782/flmnh.xhge9262

Keywords:

wild rice, Indigenous knowledge, sedimentary ancient DNA, environmental DNA, lake sediments

Abstract

Led by Native American resource managers, we have convened a working group across 20+ tribal entities in the north-central United States, with the goal of building consensus around the use of sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) to detect deep-past and recent populations of wild rice (manoomin in Ojibwe, psiŋ in Dakota, Zizania palustris and Z. aquatica) using lake sediment cores. Wild rice is of extremely high cultural and spiritual importance to many Indigenous people of the Laurentian Great Lakes region, as well as being a valuable traditional food and providing important habitat for waterfowl and other organisms. Because of its importance, any research involving wild rice must be tribally led, and outcomes designed to benefit the tribes (e.g., Matson et al. 2020). Wild rice is threatened by environmental degradation due to industrial processes and agriculture, so its protection can be a contentious regulatory and political issue in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, involving tribal, state, and federal agencies. The wild rice paleorecord has tremendous potential for detecting and tracking past changes in wild rice distributions. Until recently, however, proxies for wild rice were either ineffective (pollen, seeds), or low-throughput and thus not scalable to region-wide use (phytoliths). SedaDNA would supplement Indigenous knowledge and Western scientific methods to inform conservation, management, designation for protection, and the enhancement of cultural and historical records. In this presentation, we will describe how we are synthesizing output from facilitated online meetings with and presentations to tribal resource managers into a white paper providing guidance from these sovereign Nations to academic researchers, agencies, and policymakers on restrictions on the utilization of sedaDNA of wild rice, the leadership roles tribal entities should take in all research, and tribal priorities for the application of this technique.

Journal cover with title Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History and a photograph of a great blue heron

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Published

2023-02-16

How to Cite

Myrbo, A., Vogt, D., Schuldt, N., Howes, T., Schirmer, R., & Diver, K. (2023). Tribally-Led Consultation on the Ethical Use of Sedimentary Ancient DNA for a Culturally Important Plant: Manoomin, Psin, Zizania (Wild Rice). Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, 60(2), 99. https://doi.org/10.58782/flmnh.xhge9262

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