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'Our Culture Is Being Taken Away From Us': The Karuk Tribe Pushes to Restore Native Burn Management to Protect Forests

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Scot Steinbring, fire management officer for the Karuk. (Danielle Venton)

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For thousands of years before contact with Europeans, the Karuk people, like many others, tended their land with fire. The Karuk tribe is one of the largest in California, spanning parts of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties along the Klamath River.  When the federal government took over managing the forest, it stripped the Karuk people of their relationship with fire, and that has had profound effects. These days, the forest is overgrown, and thick with dry brush. Last fall, the massive Slater Fire decimated cultural sites and homes. KQED Science reporter Danielle Venton looks at the relationship between the Karuk and cultural burning, and their negotiations with the state of California to get that control back.

You can find more of Danielle's reporting on the Karuk here.


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