Good Fire Podcast by Amy Cardinal Christianson and Matthew Kristoff
Stories of Indigenous fire stewardship, cultural and social empowerment, and environmental integrity
Good Fire In Guyana with Kayla de Freitas and Nicholas Cyril
In this episode, Kayla and Nicholas talk about the cultural burning practices in Guyana.
The Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science
● California Indian Water Commission
● Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation
41.54 - 42.04: “So much of that knowledge about fire and fire use and farming, hunting, is learned by doing and by living there and living that life.”
Fire since time immemorial (04.02)
Nicholas has worked for 10 years at SRDC as a part-time researcher. He explains that fire in his territory has always been used and continues to be used for various reasons.
The changing face of fire (10.55)
Kayla’s research focus is the changing practices of Indigenous fire management and local fire governance.
Timeless wisdom, current realities (13.17)
Kayla describes who was interviewed for her research study and the regional fire management plan.
Indigenous land rights (17.17)
Nicholas notes that Indigenous peoples are allowed to burn in the villages. Kayla adds that Indigenous communities can make their own rules concerning resource governance.
Towards the creation of a fire policy (19.35)
The Indigenous communities in South Rupununi are working to create a local fire policy appropriate to their landscape.
Burning season (23.46)
Kayla highlights the seasonal fire calendar that the district council uses and a collection of interview responses on putting fire on the landscape.
Beyond fire (25.53)
Kayla shares how enriching it has been to work with Indigenous communities alongside Nicholas, learning about the landscape, experiencing hospitality and developing connections.
Bringing fire back (33.46)
Nicholas mentions how management of fire is changing in the communities to a direct style where the council makes decisions for the community.
Valuing Indigenous knowledge (35.52)
Nicholas speaks about how people are moving away from the traditional way of life. Kayla comments on how Indigenous knowledge was erased by settlers, but is being reclaimed.
Following in the ancestor’s footsteps (41.40)
Nicholas delineates the process of a burn, when traditional knowledge is relied upon. Kayla laments that the government only pays lip service to Indigenous knowledge and practices.
The sum of the parts (49.44)
Kayla narrates how fire management plans are being updated in consultation with Indigenous groups, and how opt-in arrangements work for their lands.
Looking ahead (54.25)
Nicholas says the Indigenous communities are mindful of burning in the right seasons and work with nature’s cycles. He describes how burning assists animals in breeding.
Preventing brain drain (1.04.57)
Kayla mentions that the SRDC is creating opportunities for trained Guyanese people to stay in the country and serve the community. Nicholas’ work with SRDC is inspired by the desire to keep Indigenous knowledge alive and affirm Indigenous land rights.