Fire and the Anishinaabe

Andrew Miller and Iain Davidson-Hunt from the University of Manitoba, write about Fire, Agency and Scale in the Creation of Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes in Human Ecology (doi: 10.1007/s10745-010-9325-3).

The authors worked with the Pikangikum First Nation to understand and analyze how fire co-produces a cultural landscape over large spatial areas.

Their paper has two really interesting figures showing alternative perspectives on fire.  The first is a Stommel diagram of the Anishinaabe fire related cultural landscape in Manitoba, and the second an Anishinaabe image of a specific way fire was used in specific places and time in the boreal forest landscape to enhance the supply of desired ecosystem services.

Fig. 4 Spatial and temporal dimensions of knowledge related to fire use and its impacts held by Anishinaabe elders, and the areas of expertise they require

Fig. 5 Pishashkooseewuhseekaag—Spring burning of the marshes. Fires were lit in marshes in the Spring when ice on the lakes was beginning to break up but the ground was still frozen. Burning created luxuriant regrowth of grass, habitat for ducks and muskrats that could also be harvested for insulation.

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