Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan

Manoomin seed | Photo by Barb Barton

Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan

 Monday, February 20th, 2023

 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm (Eastern Time)

  • Will be Recorded
  • Public Welcome
  • Chapter Meeting
  • Program/Speaker Presentation

ZOOM presentation by Barbara Barton, Author

Free event • Registration required


In her presentation Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan, author Barb Barton will introduce us to the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality surrounding this sacred plant. She begins her story in the days before European colonization and travels in time through the logging and industrialization eras. Barton explores the worlds of the Anishinaabek and the colonizers as she contrasts their different perspectives and relationships with Manoomin. The audience also learns about Michigan’s historic wild rice beds, why many of them vanished, and how both tribal and non- tribal people have sought to restore and protect Manoomin across the landscape. Attendees will also learn how Manoomin is harvested and processed. As one reviewer has noted, this book “makes me want to paddle the backwaters of Michigan’s rivers and lakes, searching for lost stands of this amazing grass.”

Barbara Barton’s book Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan can be purchased at Also, two copies are available for check out from Kent District Library.

Manoomin flowers | Photo by Mark S. Carlson
Harvested Manoomin
Barb Barton and Steve Allen harvesting Manoomin with a ricing stick | Photo by Mark S. Carlson

Speaker Biography:
Barb Barton is the author of the books The Amazing Adventures of a Midwestern Girl and Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan. As an almost lifelong Michigander and an endangered species biologist by training, Barb finds boundless inspiration in the region’s rich history. Manoomin traces the interwoven stories of the Anishinaabek, European colonizers, and the role native wild rice has had in shaping their shared histories. For Barb, storytelling and cultural preservation are one in the same. In addition to her non-fiction books, she has authored articles about the complex relationships between people and food for Michigan History Magazine and The Historical Society of Michigan’s Chronicle magazine. Barb also travels the state as a public speaker—and sometimes folk musician—continuing the oral traditions that have informed her research and writing. She is currently working on her third book, with the working title “Gifts from the Earth: Wild Foods in Michigan”. Barb has an MS in Ecology from Eastern Michigan University and a BS in Wildlife Management from Michigan State University. Manoomin won a 2020 Bronze Medal Independent Publishers Award, 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title (American Library Association), a 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award, and a 2018 Michigan History Award in the University Press/Commercial Press category.

(Manoomin soup)
Download the recipe pdf