Cultural Burning

Indigenous Peoples are the stewards of the land, fire is a cleanser of Mother Earth and cultural burning is a tool of the Fire Keeper. A new call to bring back the balance in the forest and the need to enhance the fire safety of communities is a much needed breath of fresh air. Revive cultural burning practices, bring back burn cycles, and restore the land so all can thrive.

Joe Gilchrist and Harry Spahan (Indigenous Fire Keepers from British Columbia)

What is Cultural Burning?

Cultural burning means different things to different individuals. For some Indigenous peoples, cultural burning is defined as follows:

The traditional practice of planned and controlled use of fire on the landscape by Indigenous peoples for cultural and land management purposes. This includes burning for the health of particular plants and animals, as well as using fire for ceremonial purposes.

In many Indigenous cultures in Canada, fire is a sacred and powerful element that can help on landscapes and in ceremony.

Indigenous communities have in many ways been leading wildland fire mitigation and prevention in Canada since time immemorial, relying on local Indigenous knowledge systems. Indigenous communities have various current and emerging fire stewardship practices in support of cultural revitalization, resilience and pride, and (emergency) preparedness.

Indigenous Cultural Burning in Shackan

The video below details the cultural burn being conducted in the Spring of 2019 on Shackan band lands; it was facilitated by the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society’s Fuel Management Department and Shackan Indian Band members with assistance from the BC Wildfire Service.

Learn more about Indigenous fire use:

Blazing the Trail: Celebrating Indigenous Fire Stewardship

The history of fire

Indigenous communities have in many ways been leading wildland fire mitigation and prevention in Canada since time immemorial.