BY COUNCILOR NESS:
The city council finds as follows:
(a) Natural wild rice is a significant part of our state’s identity and agricultural heritage and has been designated as the official state grain; and
(b) Natural wild rice, or Manoomin, is sacred to the religion of the Anishinaabeg people, important to the subsistence economy of the seven sovereign Ojibwe bands of Minnesota, and protected in many of the treaties the bands have with the United States government; and
(c) Natural rice is of great ecological importance to Minnesota lakes, rivers, and wildlife, providing important habitat and sustenance for migrating waterfowl and aquatic life; and
(d) It is in the interest of the state and its flagship research university to proceed in partnership with the Ojibwe bands of Minnesota to better understand the issues, challenges, and opportunities associated with natural wild rice and the role this crop plays in the spiritual, economic, cultural and environmental identity of this state; and
(e) The introduction of genetically engineered wild rice into Minnesota could result in cross pollination and irreversible changes both to Minnesota lakes and the genetic integrity of natural wild rice. Studies performed on test plots of other genetically engineered beach grasses have documented cross pollination with natural stands.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that, in the interest of protecting the genetic integrity of this unique natural resource, the city of Duluth recommends that the state of Minnesota should take reasonable precautionary measures in the event of an application for a test plot of genetically engineered wild rice, including enacting a temporary, two-year moratorium that prohibits the release, planting, cultivation, harvest, importation, or sale of any genetically engineered wild rice in Minnesota until the environmental, social and economic impacts can be fully assessed and understood in cooperation with interested parties.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the city of Duluth recommends that the University of Minnesota sign an agreement with the Ojibwe bands of Minnesota agreeing to work collaboratively with the bands to protect natural wild rice for future generations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the commissioners of the Minnesota departments of agricultural and natural resources, Governor Tim Pawlenty, University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, and the leadership of the majority and minority caucuses in both the House and Senate.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution expresses the city’s recommendation of actions the state of Minnesota should take to protect the historic and genetic integrity of native wild rice, which is both a historic and botanical resource.