1 Year Later, The Bad River Band is Still Recovering from Big Storm

Some Tribal Members Say it was the Worst Storm They Had Ever Seen

BAD RIVER RESERVATION, Wis.- A year ago a storm swept through Northern Wisconsin, damaging infrastructure on the Bad river reservation, like this very bridge.

“Over night we received like 9 inches of rain, close to 9 inches of rain. All the roads washed away,” says Nicholas Blanchard, a Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Member.

The bridge, along with other roads and bridges that were washed out have been fixed, but the storm left damages that still impact the community.

One of those things is the Wild rice harvest in Bad River.

“It’s in an infancy stage right now, it’s laying out under the water,” Myron Burns Sr., a Wild Rice Harvester explains about the crops.

Right after the storm last year, Wild Ricers like Myron Burns Sr. say the season was almost non existent. And while he won’t know for sure until August, Burns suspects there’s a good chance last year’s storm left damages that will still affect their crop this year.

“We’ll be going down probably, the first or second week of August to check it out and see what it looks like,” says Burns.

For the Bad River Band, wild ricing is not only a tradition, but a way of life, so having two seasons of a thin season could be quite the set back.

“Wild rice, is very very very important to our people, it’s a sacred thing, it’s the reason we’re here, because of wild rice,” says Burns.

But Burns says only mother nature can dictate how the ricing season will be, and should rice be scarce again, the community will be able to support each other and keep morale high, just like they did in the wake of the storm.

“That’s how tribes usually work. Everyone comes together as one,” said Blanchard.

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