Native Californian Fire Use
Fire and Wilderness
This dichotomy of a totally managed landscape and an untouched wilderness is unhelpful in developing successful efforts to respect and preserve Indigenous cultures as well as protecting what wild is still left. In reality, California was both. Some areas near villages were heavily managed to produce the bounty Indigenous Peoples needed. Other areas were rarely, if ever, visited, with whatever human impact left behind quickly being absorbed by Nature. A more accurate view of "Wilderness" is as a legal term that defines and protects natural landscapes that modern society has yet to exploit and destroy. The important issues today are to first acknowledge and apologize for the state's role in the horrors of the past, as Governor Newsom did in 2019. Secondly, we need to recognize that descendants of the Indigenous Peoples who suffered are still here and continue to fight for self-determination. Finally, we need to dispense with the polarizing dichotomy (all land has been modified or not) that is used by vested interests to once again exploit Indigenous Peoples for economic gain.