Fires That Bring Us Together: Mapuche And California Indian Relationality in a Time of Climate Change

Authors: Cinthya Ammerman*, UC Davis
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Latin America, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: Mapuche, Chile, California, Radiata Pine, Wildfire
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past century, vast swathes of Chile’s biologically diverse temperate rainforest have been replaced with California-native radiata pine as a result of exchanges that began during the mid-1800s, when Chile experienced a boom in wheat exports to meet the demand of California gold rush populations. Eager to expand their agricultural frontier and to create a “Chilean California,” Chilean settlers colonized Mapuche territory through a process of mass deforestation. This land was then reforested with radiata pine monoculture, creating a flammable landscape that acts synergistically with climate change to create larger wildfires and longer fire seasons. The work presented here draws upon these historical links to analyze the increasing risk of wildfires on ancestral Mapuche homelands in south-central Chile. This shared history maps potential paths to collaboration between Mapuche and California Indians in response to wildfires and climate change.

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