ForestFires WildFires | Indigenous Tribal ways

HomeSchool lesson:

 How well are we (California state) doing on incorporating traditional knowledge into forest management these days?

Indigenous people used and continue to use cultural burning to manage California for sustainability, resources, food, fiber, safety, travel, and ceremony. When you talk to tribes, they all talk about being active stewards of the land. They say that this idea of stewardship is actually commanded by creator, to steward their lands for the benefit of everything that’s there—the four-legged, the two-legged, and everything else. This message resonates so well today. We have to become stewards of these lands, or we’re going to continue to have huge problems with climate change, drought, and high-severity fire.

I’ve been teaching a lower-division fire culture class at UC Berkeley with Ken Lightfoot for the past five years. We bring in senior indigenous scholars and leaders, and I talk about fire ecology, while Ken talks about archeology. When indigenous people come in and talk about traditional ideas, tribal history, and what they’re working on—you could hear a pin drop in the room. It takes it to a different level. When indigenous people talk to urban people, they connect in ways that are just astonishing.




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