On November 13th, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, and Oneida Tribal members, University of Wisconsin-Madison staff, and other community members gathered at the Neeshla Pow Wow grounds in Baraboo, Wisconsin for the Fall Harvest Event. Hosted by the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Agriculture and in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Ho-Chunk Nation Health and Wellness Division, this event was a part of the grant project, “Connecting Cultural Values and Indigenous Research towards Food System Resilience”. This collaborative effort between Wisconsin Tribes and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Extension was awarded in 2023 through the Rural Partnerships Initiative (RPI).
This past year our Tribal partner, the Ho-Chunk Nation, planted 11 acres of Indigenous corn near the Ho-Chunk Casino. The event allowed Tribal members to highlight different ways to harvest and prepare Indigenous corn. The event began with hand-harvesting of this corn and a demonstration on how to prepare and braid the corn from Jen Falck, a member of the Oneida corn growers cooperative Ohe·láku. Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center’s Dan Cornelius (Oneida) demonstrated how to make hominy by boiling the corn with wood ash, and Jen talked about the ways Oneida cook with hominy or nixtamalized corn.
A catered lunch by Marigold Kitchen was compliment by wild rice with berries, venison stew, and squash with corn and maple syrup that had been prepared onsite earlier that day and cooked over a fire. There was also frybread and a green tea made with maple syrup and mint. The RPI team organized a combine demonstration, as one of the grant objectives is to evaluate the impacts of mechanization on the production of Indigenous corn. Brian Luck and John Shutske, both from the UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering department, walked attendees through the basics of how a combine works and safety considerations. The moisture content of the corn was too high to harvest with the combine but pending better weather the hope is that the field will be harvested soon.