Many Indigenous Peoples have ancient histories of sustainable living which often include fire practices designed to protect and nourish their environments. In this presentation, three Indigenous researchers discuss this history, current practices, and look to how future fire management can be guided by cultural burning practices. Issues of sovereignty and environmental justice will also be discussed.
Born in Aotearoa New Zealand, a member of the Tuhoe and Ngāti Ruapani tribes, a geographer by training with a PhD in economic geography. Was researching Maori environmental management until a major earthquake in Christchurch, NZ, in 2011 after which I was involved in disaster research leading to collaboration with Indigenous researchers and community advocates in the UN DRR global and regional (Americas) platforms.
Amy Cardinal Christianson is a Métis woman from the Cardinal/Laboucane families of Treaty 6/8 territory in what is now known as Canada. She is a Fire Research Scientist with the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada), where her research program focuses on Indigenous fire stewardship, wildfire evacuations, and wildfire mitigation.
Brady Highway belongs to the Asinīskāwitiniwak – the people of the rock. He is a father of two children, a Cree translator and life-long student of the land. Having grown up on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan, Brady learned how to respectfully interact with the environment and has been working in the field of environmental protection for over 25 years. Starting as a wildland firefighter, he moved to Yoho National Park to become the youngest Park Warden in Canada at the age of 18 and continued specialized
work in wildfire management. He has held several positions including Initial Attack Crew Leader, Regional Duty Officer, Visitor Safety and Fire Operations Coordinator which offered many unique opportunities to work with Indigenous communities in their own traditional territories. After attending over 250 prescribed, wildland, and structural fires, he now leads a project on behalf of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative developing a national strategy for Indigenous Guardians entering this critical function of resource management. Brady’s passion and commitment to protect the land enters every aspect of his life, instilling values of respect and humility to his children, nieces and nephews who will be left to look after the land into the future.