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Cycles of Renewal

Fire has always been a part of life in southern California. Climate change and current fire
management practices have led to catastrophic losses and impacts to human health,
infrastructure and ecosystems, as seen, for example, in Montecito debris flow.
Indigenous wisdom instructs that rather than suppressing fire, we should seek to be in
a good relationship with fire. This project centers the voices of Chumash people by
revitalizing their good relationship with fire in Chumash homelands. This revitalization
comes at a critical time for both fire management and revitalization of Indigenous
cultural burning practices in the southwest. The project will enable the recovery and
documenting of Chumash knowledge related to cultural burns, through videos and
StoryMaps, some of which will be shared beyond Chumash communities. The project will
also enable the training and equipping of Chumash fire stewards and will build social
capital with non-Indigneous land managers to support cultural burns. This foundation
will support a future in which Chumash voices lead the revitalization of fire in their
homelands, and where cultural burns are routinely used to reduce damaging fire and
increase ecosystem resilience as well as food and material availability for Chumash

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