Published In

Canadian Journal of Anthropology

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1986


Native Americans, Fire ecology -- Pacific Northwest, Prescribed burning -- Pacific Northwest -- Social life and customs


This paper is a detailed reconstruction of a single technique of environmental manipulation, the annual burning of large tracts of vegetation, as practiced by the indigenous hunting and gathering people of the Willamette Valley, the Kalapuyan Indians. The paper is divided into three parts. The first introduces the problem of aboriginal burning practices and provides a quick geographical and ethnographic survey of the pre- white Willamette Valley; the second presents the ethnohistorical evidence for local aboriginal burning; and the last attempts to place burning practices in the context of the Kalapuyan subsistence strategy. The paper concludes with a brief survey of anthropogenic burning in a regional perspective.


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