Ground breaking CSKT fire education project distributes new guide to educators
PABLO — The groundbreaking Fire on the Land environmental-education
project now has a new curriculum guide, which is being distributed to
educators on the Flathead Indian Reservation. This is a tribal project
that is based on tribal values and works toward cultural competence
while meeting state education standards.
This curriculum, with the Fire on the Land DVD, integrates
tribal and scientific knowledge about fire. Students can explore a
Coyote story about stealing fire from the sky world, listen to
interviews with tribal elders and fire managers, interact with a primer
on the science of fire ecology, and read a history about the collision
of Indian and non-Indian views on the use of fire on the land.
The multimedia collection is infused with the cultural values
of the Salish and Pend d'Oreille, whose worldview differs from
mainstream practices. This program offers an alternative way of looking
at both fire and landscapes and how Native Peoples used fire in the
This curriculum is part of a larger fire-education project
produced by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and funded by
the Bureau of Indian Affairs-National Interagency Fire Center. Entitled
Native People and Fire in the Northern Rockies, the project includes an
interactive DVD Fire on the Land (Disk 1) - the contents of which are
on this Curriculum DVD-the storybook Beaver Steals Fire published by
the University of Nebraska Press, and a short film Beaver Steals Fire,
based on the book.
The curriculum DVD includes 12 lessons that explore topics
including: A contemporary retelling of a traditional Coyote story that
teaches fire was a treasured gift, landscape photos taken from the same
place over time that reveals changes, elders lessons on the changing
land and uses of fire. Also explored are lessons on the Tribes' life
cycle and the use of fire within it and materials that engage students
to understand historical events in the lives of the Tribes. There are
also problem-solving games tied to how different forests and grassland
types will respond to fire.
Reservation schools are receiving the curriculum free of
charge. Teachers who want to obtain a copy should contact Germaine
White. Several hundred copies have already been distributed to
reservation and Missoula schools.