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Saskatchewan Wild Rice: A Community Collaboration

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (Saskatchewan)

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) represents 72 First Nations in that province including Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine, Dakota/Sioux and Dene/Chipewayan. The FSIN provides services which cover government, finance, culture, education, and economic development. One of the economic development initiatives is the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program (SIAP).

SIAP helps Aboriginal farmers in the province to develop, expand and modernize. The program has played a significant role in encouraging the wild rice industry in Northern Saskatchewan. Wild rice actually a water grass seed is a traditional staple of the diet of plains people. It grows in cold water lakes, rivers and streams.

SIAP provides assistance to Aboriginal farmers in the harvesting and processing of wild rice. It has created or contributed to the creation of two Saskatchewan-based businesses: the La Ronge Wild Rice Processing Plant, which processes the harvest for market, and Grey Owl Marketing, which sells the end-product. While SIAP is non-profit, Grey Owl Marketing and the La Ronge plant generate income which returns to the communities, either through job creation in the businesses themselves or as funding sources for new economic opportunities in agriculture.

 

 

 

Photo via Britannica

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