October Ignite Talk
Tuesday, October 12
Giving Voice to Cultural Safety of Indigenous Wildland Firefighters in Canada
For decades, Indigenous firefighters and fire operations staff have been engaged in wildland fire suppression activities, formally and informally. Little is known or understood about the experiences of Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel. To address this deficit, we developed an online survey and virtual circles were conducted specifically for individuals who self-identified as Indigenous and worked in wildland firefighting and/or fire operations for at least one fire season in Canada.
Amy Cardinal Christianson, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service: Amy Cardinal Christianson is a Métis woman from Treaty 8 territory, currently living in Treaty 6, and a fire research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. Amy is the co-author of the book “First Nations Wildfire Evacuations: A Guide for Communities and External Agencies” and also cohosts the Good Fire podcast, which looks at Indigenous fire use around the world.
Kathy Offet-Gartner, Registered Psychologist (Counselling), Turtle Island Consulting (TIC): Kathy is a Sami woman, is a proud Kokum to 3 members of the Seton Lake band and an honoured member of this important research team. Kathy holds a PhD in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta. Kathy’s practice, teaching, writing, and research interests revolve around ethical counselling practices with a concerted focus on culture-infused and equity approaches. Kathy has focused most of her 39-year career working with and for Indigenous peoples and communities and commits to emphasizing resilience, commitment, and successful academic achievement as a gateway to positive health, wellness, and career-life balance.
Joe Gilchrist, Fire Keeper, Turtle Island Consulting (TIC)/ Salish Fire Keepers: Joe Gilchrist is a Traditional Fire Keeper in the interior region of BC (Secwepemc and Nlaka’pamux Nations) with over two decades of experience in cultural burning revitalization and wildland fire prevention training. Joe is a Traditional Fire Keeper and Peer Reviewer for the Giving Voice to Cultural Safety of Indigenous Wildland Firefighters in Canada Project.
This session will include four parts:
- History of Indigenous wildland firefighting in Canada (10 mins)
- Survey and virtual circle results
- What are Indigenous wildland firefighters’ and wildland fire operations staff’s experiences regarding accident/injury rates, sickness presenteeism/absenteeism, chronic illness (cancer, respiratory illness, etc.), close calls, racism/discrimination/harassment?
- What is currently working on the fireline and fire operation centres to promote cultural safety of Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel?
- What are the priority needs/issues and recommendations for enhancing cultural safety for Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel?
- Discussion with Indigenous firefighters on cultural safety and workforce resilience