Friday Flash from FireScience.Gov

Issue 103 | September 19, 2014

Videos -Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Fire 


Braids of Truth: A three part video series

An exploration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Climate Change
and Collaboration Challenges

Above: A depiction of the Two-row Wampum symbolizing two distinct cultural strands traveling in parallel. (Public Domain) 

For 2 days in June 2010, 7 tribal elders joined with 20 native and nonnative scientists, resource managers, and academics to explore ways to integrate Native American stewardship practices, traditional knowledge, and philosophies with western science to address contemporary forest health and wildfire challenges.

This workshop, "Returning Fire to The Land - Celebrating Traditional Knowledge and Fire", was sponsored by, 
the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network, Salish Kootenai College, University of Idaho, University of Washington, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Participants examined how fire management practices can help to perpetuate important landscapes that support both natural and cultural resources. 

We present the resulting video series, Braids of Truth, and the accompanying paper from the June 2012 issue of Journal of Forestry.  

Braids of Truth Video Series

A short introduction to the 3-part series.

Part 1: Fire and Forest Management - 
Elders and forest professionals discuss the traditional and contemporary uses of fire and challenges to forest management practices.

Part 2: Climate Change -

Elders, scientists and cultural leaders discuss the effects of climate change on the earth, culture and peoples and the differences between western science and traditional ecological principles.

Part 3: Collaboration Challenges -
How can agencies, institutions and tribal cultures communicate about issues that relate to ecology and lifeways when the terms can mean different things? Is it learning how to talk or how to listen?

"Integration and application of traditional knowledge with western science for improved stewardship of natural resources will require enduring commitments to knowledge sharing that extend beyond the usual boundaries of professional training and cultural orientation such that learning can proceed, legacy myths might be corrected, and the forests and the people will benefit."

“I think I need to know how to listen differently rather than talk differently…I think that I have science I can offer. And I think that there is so much that I need to learn. It’s about my listening. Not changing my view, but changing the way I listen to that. I hope this is a breakthrough where we can finally help one another and learn each others' approaches. “ 

Colin Hardy, Program Manager for Fire, Fuel and Smoke Science at the
USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station Missoula Fire Lab

Braids of Truth Part 3 

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