What is an Indigenous-Led Fire Prescription?

An Indigenous-led fire prescription is a way of transforming fire reconciliation into action.

It is for, by and about Indigenous Peoples and communities.

An Indigenous-led fire prescription is where fire stewardship programs, practices and related land-based learning are led and driven by Indigenous Peoples, groups and communities, for example, First Nations communities, Métis communities and Tribal Councils.

An Indigenous-led fire prescription is unique to an Indigenous group or community’s land, water or broader ecosystem and strategically interconnected with a stated rationale and set of holistic values, goals and management objectives.

It takes care, determination and time to develop a meaningful and effective Indigenous-led fire prescription.

This effort includes building and maintaining mutually respectful relationships with strategic partners, for example, orders of government, associations, land users and property owners.

2022: TEK fire practitioners reviewing the burn plan in the Saskatchewan River Delta.

2022: TEK fire practitioners reviewing the burn plan in the Saskatchewan River Delta.

DETERMINING LEVELS OF LOCAL EXPERTISE AND KNOWLEDGE

In Phase One (steps #1 to #3), your community (or group) sets a clear direction for engaging in Indigenous-led fire prescriptions:

  1. Understanding key terms
  1. Appreciating holistic values
  1. Developing a rationale

Therefore, through the above steps, you

  • may define and describe specific values and terms that shape your particular Indigenous-led fire prescription rationale and corresponding set of goals and management objectives.

DEVELOPING AN INDIGENOUS-LED FIRE PRESCRIPTION

In Phase Two, you and your community (or group) are developing an Indigenous-led fire prescription (steps #4 and #5):

  1. Assessing state of readiness
  1. Writing an Indigenous-led fire prescription

Therefore, Phase Two involves

  • engaging in assessment and analysis; and
  • using various resources that address cross-cultural communications and community engagement, community safety, economic diversification, ecosystem stewardship, habitat restoration, climate change adaptation planning and land management.

There is also an opportunity for you and your community (or group) to recognize Indigenous Science and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and its use(s) in the fire prescription and to recognize local cultural protocols, ways of life, livelihoods and economies.

The process for this type of burning should be Indigenous-led and driven as you establish a rationale based on your community’s (or group’s) rights, wise practices, holistic values, interests, and technical, human and financial resources.

In developing an Indigenous-led fire prescription, you use a “whole-of-society” approach to partnership and capacity building opportunities. This means

  • building relationships with leaders and groups to understand your collective needs; and
  • determining wise practices to organize and strengthen resources and capacity in using fire on the land.

In this phase, agreement and approval of the localized and customized Indigenous-led fire prescription occurs.

As you and your community (or group) write the Indigenous-led fire prescription, you can document the roles of the community, group and leadership in implementing and reporting on your Indigenous-led fire prescription.

IMPLEMENTING AN INDIGENOUS-LED FIRE PRESCRIPTION

Phase Three (steps #6 and #7) is the implementation of an Indigenous-led fire prescription which involves the following steps:

  1. Applying an Indigenous-led fire prescription
  1. Reporting on an Indigenous-led fire prescription

In this final phase, you will establish governance structures that support the strategic oversight of the localized and customized Indigenous-led fire prescription.

This involves you and your community (or group)

The following provides a visual of the major phases of an Indigenous-led fire prescription.

Indigenous-led Fire Prescription

The intention of the We Are Fire Toolkit is to support you and your community or group to develop, apply and report on an Indigenous-led fire prescription and its management objectives.

The Toolkit describes sustainable approaches to returning, continuing or expanding uses of fire on the land, particularly though not exclusively, in the Saskatchewan River Delta.