Reporting for this story was made possible, in part, by a fellowship with the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources.
On the St Louis River near Duluth, Minnesota – Terry Perrault says he is trying to bring back what once was.
Perrault and his colleagues in the natural resources department of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are trying to restore a key food and cultural staple in the St Louis River, a major tributary of Lake Superior.
Wild rice – "manoomin" in the Ojibwe language – is sacred to Indigenous people in the Great Lakes region of North America, and it is coming back after painstaking efforts to reseed these waters in the northern United States.
"All these bays had rice in all of them," says Perrault, wearing a green t-shirt and jeans as he looks out from a boat onto the bay on a warm day in June.
Over his left shoulder, orange netting encircles a bed of wild rice to protect the still-growing grasses against geese. Harvesting is still several weeks away, and Perrault says the blades can sometimes get to be as high as 1.8-metres (six-feet) tall.
"It was here," Perrault says of the wild rice, which in addition to its cultural importance, provides food security and economic benefits for the community while also enriching soils and preventing erosion.
"We know it was here, so we're just trying to put it back for everybody else [to] get to see what was lost a long time ago."