Published September 22, 2022

Wildfire-impacted community members, nonprofit organization leaders, and industry professionals convened in Sonoma, California, this week to highlight and discuss how our unique communities recover, rebuild, and reimagine community resilience after—and before—wildfire, during a three-day summit.

On Tuesday, Lomakatsi Tribal Partnerships Director Belinda Brown, enrolled member of the Kosealekte Band of the Ajumawi-Atsuge Nation (Pit River Tribe) and descendant of the Northern Paiute Gidutikad Band, shared a panel with Trina Cunningham, Executive Director of Maidu Summit Consortium and Maidu tribal member; and Margo Robbins, Executive Director of Cultural Fire Management Council and Yurok Tribe member, to discuss centering indigenous land care practices in wildfire recovery. Moderated by Lomakatsi Founder & Executive Director Marko Bey, the panel discussed the foundational role of fire in indigenous culture, and the importance of prescribed fire in stewarding the fire-adapted landscapes of the West.

“The indigenous people have been here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years taking care of the land – countless generations of keeping the land healthy and in balance. We know a little something about healthy lands and how to keep them that way. What we don’t know a lot about is how to recover from the wildfires we’ve been experiencing today, and that’s because we have no history of such a thing.”

Margo Robbins

In the new era of megafires, nearly 200 years since aboriginal people were forcibly dislocated, Brown underscored the value of multi-organizational collaboration to achieve equity and community safety in the wildland-urban interface, and to advance the return of culturally significant land care practices founded in Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge – the place-based information accumulated by aboriginal peoples since time immemorial that supports thriving ecosystems and subsistence resources.
“The indigenous people have been here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years taking care of the land – countless generations of keeping the land healthy and in balance,” Margo Robbins said during her keynote presentation right before the panel. “We know a little something about healthy lands and how to keep them that way. What we don’t know a lot about is how to recover from the wildfires we’ve been experiencing today, and that’s because we have no history of such a thing.”
We thank After The Fire USA for hosting this powerful 3-day workshop!
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