Publication Details

Eriksen, C. & Hankins, D. L. (2014). The retention, revival, and subjugation of Indigenous fire knowledge through agency fire fighting in eastern Australia and California. Society and Natural Resources, 27 (12), 1288-1303.


This article explores the potential impact of training and employment with wildfire management agencies on the retention of Indigenous fire knowledge. It focuses on the comparative knowledge and experiences of Indigenous Elders, cultural practitioners, and land stewards in connection with ''modern'' political constructs of fire in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, and California in the United States of America. This article emphasises the close link between cross-cultural acceptance, integration of Indigenous and agency fire cultures, and the ways in which knowledge types are shared or withheld. While agency fire fighting provides an opportunity for Indigenous people to connect and care for country, it simultaneously allows for the breaking of traditional rules surrounding what knowledge is shared with whom in the context of Indigenous cultural burning. By highlighting how privilege intersects with ethnicity, class, gender and age, this article demonstrates how greater cross-cultural acceptance could aid ongoing debates on how to coexist with wildfire today.

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