MINNESOTA: Moon of Mah-No-Men

Minnesota's 11,000 Chippewa Indians call wild rice Mah-No-Men. They say it reverently, for wild rice is their cash crop, their "great gift from the Spirit of Heaven." August is the moon of its ripening, the month when the grain turns yellow and the lakes where the wild rice grows look like golden plains. After the ripening comes the moon of the harvest, when the Chippewas gather the rice just as they did when the exploring Franciscan, Father Louis Hennepin, first saw them in 1680.

Chippewa men, standing erect in the bows, pole their...

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