Los Angeles Times
Indigenous fire practices
Re “Indigenous fire practitioners can be key to healthy forests,” Opinion, July 31
The call by non-Indigenous people to incorporate a romanticized, stereotyped version of Native American fire use is a thinly veiled attempt to appropriate Native culture for the same reason colonial powers have done so in the past — for self-interest or financial gain.
In this case, to increase habitat clearance projects and logging operations under the guise of controlling wildfires.
The false “cultural burning was able to prevent large wildfires” narrative, promoted by U.S. Forest Service scientists and others who profit from government wildfire grants, has also had the effect of demonizing nature. Rich, dense vegetation is no longer habitat, but “fuel” that must be removed.
This is not just contrary to logic and science but is a threat to wilderness.
The reality, based on multiple studies, is that Indigenous fire was used on a local basis. Most of those places are now under concrete, not miles away in the wildlands that Indigenous people knew so well — wildlands that have yet to be destroyed by us. Richard W. Halsey
Escondido The writer is director of the California Chaparral Institute.