Fon du Lac Reservation, Cloquet, Minnesota
Charlie Nahganub, Ojibwe
Made of lightweight, buoyant cedar, ricing sticks are used specifically for harvesting wild rice on lakes and rivers. They’re sometimes called “knockers,” because people use them to knock grains off from wild rice plants. The tapered wooden rods are tailor-made for individuals, to fit their hand size and arm length.
Ojibwe people in Minnesota and Wisconsin use wild rice as a staple food, and prepare it in various ways. They cook it, parch it and pop it, using it as a cereal or combined with meat for main dishes.
The Science Museum of Minnesota commissioned Charlie Nahganub from the Fon du Lac Reservation in Minnesota to make these ricing sticks for us in 1992.