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Daniel May
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Fire & Traditional Knowledge

NRFSN number: 16968
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Non-Indigenous understandings of ‘fire-stick farming’ have historically existed not as anthropological curiosities but as political incendiaries, as competing interest groups have attempted to publically appropriate or deny Indigenous burning in environmental debates and discourse. My PhD research investigates the political and cultural influence of these understandings of Indigenous fire-use in Australia. My work focusses on case studies that include royal commissions, public policy programmes, and national park land management schemes across South-Eastern, Northern, and South-Western Australia, along with the Western United States. In these case studies, understandings of Indigenous burning influence a number of policy areas, including prescribed burning for fuel reduction, livestock grazing in alpine areas, and fire management for carbon abatement. This article focusses on my South-Eastern case studies.


Daniel May. 2016. Taking Fire: Understandings of Indigenous Burning and Environmental Politics
in Australia and the United States, 1910-2015. Australian Policy and History.

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