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[Xmca-l] Re: Pyrodiversity Fire Management - Native Americans of the California Area



By way of comparison, similar findings have been made in Australia in Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu: Black seeds, agriculture or accident? and Bill Gammage's The Biggest Estate on Earth. The latter discusses at length how targeted burnings were used for agricultural purposes.
Dr. Shannon K. Brincat
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      From: "Zavala, Miguel" <mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu>
 To: "xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
 Sent: Friday, 5 December 2014, 18:22
 Subject: [Xmca-l] Pyrodiversity Fire Management - Native Americans of the California Area
   
XMCA,

Have you heard of pyrodiversity fire management by Native Americans in the California area?  I found a book written by a UC Berkeley archaeologist that caught my attention and I found a great synthesis of the theory.

What find most striking and fascinating is that, according to this theory, Native Americans of what is today California did not follow the same developmental line as is assumed: hunter-gatherer -> agriculture-settler. Typically, when people think of California Native Americans, they characterize them as hunter-gatherer (as if "stuck" in the Pleistocene period).

Yet, what some scientists are finding is perhaps a competing theory or revision of this narrative; Native Americans developed a distinct type of food management system mediated primarily by pyro-fire practices.  Some argue that these were collective, conducted on a large scale among different groups, perhaps covering 10 – 16% of what today is the geographic area of California.

A nice chapter can be found below; I'm really digging this because in a way it diversifies development—that even large-scale development is not linear (or that "progress" is marked temporally without looking at the geographies of difference). Perhaps Eurocentric research and theories perpetuate master-narratives about how peoples develop across space-time.  To note, I did find some scientists arguing or challenging this theory, so it's important to see the evidence scientists use to support their theory.

Access the Chapter here: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCMQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.firescience.gov%2Fprojects%2F10-1-09-3%2Fproject%2F10-1-09-3_JONES_CH_09.pdf&ei=S1mBVLm4MMmNyATkvIKIBw&usg=AFQjCNE-TQ4ARzJf1Gbtmd2Vqz1cVwtu7A&bvm=bv.80642063,d.aWw


Miguel Zavala