Monday, September 06, 2010

Forgotten Fires

Forgotten Fires: Native Americans and the transient wilderness
Omer Call Stewart, Henry T. Lewis, Kat Anderson
University of Oklahoma Press, 2002 - History - 364 pages

"A common stereotype about American Indians is that for centuries they lived in static harmony with nature, in a pristine wilderness that remained unchanged until European colonization. Omer C. Stewart was one of the first anthropologists to recognize that Native Americans made significant impact across a wide range of environments. Most important, they regularly used fire to manage plant communities and associated animal species through varied and localized habitat burning. In Forgotten Fires, editors Henry T. Lewis and M. Kat Anderson present Stewart's original research and insights, written in the 1950s yet still provocative today. Significant portions of Stewart's text have not been available until now, and Lewis and Anderson set Stewart's findings in the context of current knowledge about Native hunter-gatherers and their uses of fire."

Midwest Book Review:

"First presented in the 1950s, yet just as relevant today, Forgotten Fires: Native Americans And The Transient Wilderness by Omer C. Stewart dispels the longstanding cultural myth that Native American communities had no impact on the natural environment surrounding them. Taking a close look at the effects Native American civilization had upon nature's ability to incorporate them into the ecosystem, with an especial eye toward how some regularly used fires to manage plant and animal communities through localized habitat burning, Forgotten Fires is a thoughtful study about mankind's true interaction with the environment, presenting straightforward facts instead of romanticized legend. This highly recommended edition for Native American Studies and Environmental History reference shelves and reading lists has been collaboratively edited by Henry T. Lewis and M. Kat Anderson for the contemporary reader."

Google Books:  Forgotten Fires

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