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Jessica K. Weir
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Ecology
Fire & Traditional Knowledge

NRFSN number: 25446
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Investigates whether a cultural burning program embedded within a government bureaucracy can meaningfully support Indigenous peoples’ landscape fires. In particular, it presents evidence on how Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals encountered, interpreted, and prioritized the influence of wildfire science, ecological science, and Indigenous expert knowledge communities. All interviewees considered the knowledge and authority of Indigenous people, specifically the Traditional Custodians, as inseparable to the program. Four moves were made to build support for Indigenous expert knowledge: the reconsideration of who has expert evidence; who has systems of knowledge creation; whose knowledge is relevant across time; and whose knowledge is relevant across contexts. The results reveal how some strongly held non-Indigenous precepts about expert evidence shifted, where knowledge sharing challenges persisted, and the constraints of the governance context. The study recommends material investment in Indigenous peoples’ expert knowledge communities, and prioritizing reflexive research, learning, and teaching about nature and evidence across academia.


Weir J. 2023. Expert knowledge, collaborative concepts, and universal nature: naming the place of Indigenous knowledge within a public-sector cultural burning program. Ecology and Society 28(1): article 17.

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