Colonization Made CA a Tinderbox: Why Indigenous Land Stewardship Would Help Combat Climate Fires


Democracy Now!

Published on Sep 15, 2020

We examine California’s history of forest management and how a century of fire suppression has made the current climate fires even more destructive. For thousands of years, Native American tribes in California would regularly burn the landscape to steward the land, but colonization led to the suppression of these tactics and decades of misguided policy. A return to these Indigenous practices could help better steward the land and foster greater climate resiliency, says Don Hankins, a pyrogeographer and Plains Miwok fire expert who teaches geography and planning at California State University, Chico. “If we all work together and we use the same mindset in terms of process, being able to use fire within the landscape, we can start to put fire back in at the scale that it needs to be for the right ecological and cultural purposes,” Hankins says.

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