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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Fukushima remembrance event highlights local concerns in Michigan

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Thursday, March 7, 2024   

Bringing together Michigan tribes and environmental advocates, an upcoming event marks a commemoration of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

While shedding light on the local Fermi II nuclear reactor, the occasion also spotlights traditional wild rice in an engaging cooking competition. The event will highlight the importance of protecting the local environment and the Great Lakes, including the sacred wild rice called manoomin, which is central to Indigenous Anishinaabe culture.

Linda Schuyler, president of the North American Indian Association of Detroit, said cooking with wild rice is not only delicious and nutritious but it is significant to her people.

"In our original teachings, Native people, they were instructed by their creator from their prayers to go where the food grows on the water," Schuyler explained. "The three fires people, they were over on the East Coast. They slowly migrated this way, and lo and behold, they found wild rice growing in the lakes."

The state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has a Wild Rice Initiative, working toward getting wild rice growing abundantly in Michigan waters again. Last November, the Michigan Legislature named manoomin the state's official native grain, the first such designation in the United States.

Kaela Wabanimke-Harris, the 2023 wild rice cookoff champion, said she's coming back to win, however the contest is more about the traditions of the tribal people and making family recipes to share. She pointed out all kinds of wild rice is available online, but it is important for the rice to come from a sustainable source. Finding it is difficult, but with more awareness and events like this, she thinks it will become easier.

"Getting it from actual tribal people that are collecting the wild rice in a traditional way is really important to me," Wabanimke-Harris emphasized. "I feel like the love that went into collecting that rice is just as important as the love that I'm going to put into my food."

An indigenous family from the Upper Peninsula will be attending the event to demonstrate wild rice harvesting and processing methods.


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