Mike Swan of Minnesota talks about what water means to him.
This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded by the Minnesota Humanities Center for their We Are Water MN initiative, an outgrowth of our national traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."
"I can answer that question in two different ways. One is the spirituality side of me, being Ojibwe and how the Ojibwe are connected to the land. We depend on water for everything, even our food source, our drinking everyday, living by it and our culture. But, there's another side of me too, my background is biology . . . The reason why we came here was there's no other place in the world where wild rice grows. It only grows here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and into part of Canada. The reason why it grows there is because the water's clean. It can't exist in polluted waters. It can't compete with other plants that can outgrow it."