California State University - Chico, United States
Background/Question/Methods Indigenous stewardship with fire is a fundamental process to maintain climate resilience, enhance biodiversity, and sustain diverse cultural outcomes. These stewardship practices emerged from the complex holistic and reciprocal relationships between fire, landscapes, and people. Indigenous fire as a process coevolved in fire prone landscapes to enhance ecocultural diversity and functionality. Policy, disease, and genocidal acts resulting from conquest and colonization disrupted this relationship, and the persistent legacy has created vulnerability across social-environmental systems. While Indigenous peoples have maintained their fire cultures in more remote areas, many organizations, communities, and individuals are working to revitalize Indigenous fire beyond these areas. Revitalization of Indigenous fire requires knowledge and skill to read the land and its needs to apply fire when and where appropriate. It is not enough to simply reapply fire to the landscape; its success is contingent on application of knowledge and practice to achieve desired outcomes founded in ecocultural practices.
Results/Conclusions As Indigenous stewardship opportunities emerge through local to global initiatives including 30x30, there is growing need for Indigenous leadership in planning and capacity for implementation. Various models for this approach exist in the context of what is available or agreeable to support self-determination across diverse partnerships, and the capacity to steward at various scales. Supporting a broader culture of stewardship that is Indigenous-led poses a time-tested solution to life with fire and a path to resilience. Case studies of models and successes exemplify the state of Indigenous stewardship, identify opportunities for improvement, and revitalize knowledge and ecocultural connections to place.