This article is about the benefits of fire in the context of traditional land management, the devastating effects a zero-tolerance fire policy has had on ecosystems, and what happens when fire is sensitively returned to the land. Hannibal discusses research into how the cultural burning practices of the Plains Miwok people in California have historically affected tribal livelihoods. The article also suggests how returning fire to the land could affect California Indian communities and cultures in the present and into the future. In addition to looking at the traditional uses of fire by the Plains Miwok, the article considers the experience of the Martu in Australia, and the attempt to restore the landscape at Quiroste by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in Año Nueva State Park.
Lighting Cultural Fires: Let it burn
Mary Ellen Hannibal is a Bay Area writer and editor focusing on science and culture. Her book The Spine of the Continent is about a social, geographical, and scientific effort to save nature along the Rocky Mountains.
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Mary Ellen Hannibal; Lighting Cultural Fires: Let it burn. Boom 1 September 2014; 4 (3): 51–59. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2014.4.3.51
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