Pre-Planning Phase:  Appreciating Holistic Values



The We Are Fire Toolkit is rooted in First Nations and Métis worldviews from in and around the Saskatchewan River Delta.

In the spirit of fire reconciliation, there is a collective responsibility to position Indigenous-led fire practices as of equal value to settler and state-led fire management.

If all of us are to sustain Mother Earth’s natural and living ecosystems and adapt to our changing climate, Indigenous-led fire stewardship and Aboriginal title and inherent rights must be at the forefront.

Drawing on First Nations and Métis perspectives of individuals, groups and communities in and around the Saskatchewan River Delta, we found that holistic values are based on the following principles:

  • One only takes what one needs from the environment to live;
  • Everything is shared and interconnected; and
  • Everyone and everything is equal and not to be left out.

As they relate to fire reconciliation, holistic values include

Cultural values

The sharing of Indigenous burning practices may lead to individuals, groups and organizations becoming allies of change.

Emotional values

The practice of using fire can transform sadness and stress into a strong, generous place and thriving people.

Land values

A place of ethics, knowledge and skills is where plants, animals and people call marshes, lakes and rivers home.

Livelihood values

Fire is a means of securing and sharing the necessities of life ranging from muskrats to moose, fur to fin and root to flower.

Mental values

The ability to balance and practice the good life in reciprocity with the land creates new knowledge.

Spiritual values

Fire is used to reclaim health, as medicine for the land, through the cleansing of the body, mind, soul and land; if the land is healthy, the people will be healthy.

Wildlife values

Fire is appreciated for enhancing the senses (taste, touch, smell, sound) of plants, animals and people.

This set of holistic values serves as a foundation for how the Indigenous-led fire prescription can be framed and developed by an Indigenous group or community.