Rekindling fire: findings and stories of indigenous fire knowledge and restoration

Don Hankins
Date and Time: 
Friday, January 11, 2013 - 2:15pm

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


Fire is an integral component of many ecosystems, and is also integral to the laws, lore, and lifeways of many indigenous groups. As such the coupling of fire and culture are interrelated and interdependent in many regions. Colonization and subsequent policy mandates have disrupted the cultural use of fire in many regions. While society grapples with the devastating impacts of wildland fires and the loss of biological diversity many indigenous people see traditional fire use as a key to mitigation of devastating losses while retaining traditional livelihoods associated with burning. Case studies of indigenous fire restoration projects in California's Central Valley and Australia's Cape York Peninsula will provide the framework for this presentation.


Dr. Don Hankins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at California State University, Chico. His areas of expertise are conservation biogeography and pyrogeography.

Don is of Miwko (Plains Miwok) descent, and is a traditional cultural practitioner. Combining his academic and cultural interests he is particularly interested in the application of indigenous land management practices as a keystone process to aid in conservation and management of resources where appropriate. His primary research focuses on the applicability and effects of prescribed fire (particularly those set by indigenous communities) as a conservation and management tool. He has conducted fire research among indigenous California and Aboriginal Australian communities. Dr. Hankins has been involved in various aspects of land management and conservation for a variety of organizations and agencies including federal and tribal governments.

EcoGroup (Anthro 364): Ecology and Environment Winter Colloquium Series