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Decolonising fire: Indigenous land stewardship and climate futurity

  • - (AEST)

This webinar is the fifth in the Australian Centre’s 2023 Critical Public Conversations series: Country, Climate, Colonialism.

In August 2021, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its sixth assessment report which unequivocally identified climate change as a human induced process. Indigenous peoples compromise less than 5% of the world’s population yet we protect 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity in the forests, deserts, grasslands, and marine environments in which we have lived for centuries.

Climate change has been identified as a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States. Wildfire in California can be traced to roots of colonialism through the establishment and persistence of “no burn” policies. Agencies have recognised the detrimental effects of fire suppression on ecosystems, and scholars have emphasised the need for climate adaptation partnerships with Indigenous communities. However, we are asking the same agencies that created the problem to be responsible for the solution.

This talk will centralise the significance of working with Indigenous fire practitioners and cultural bearers to reclaim cultural practices in Northern California, and now in the Midwest area of the United States. These demonstrations edify decolonial approaches to fire practices, land care, and Indigenous ecological intelligence towards our collective climate futurity.