Margo Robbins is Executive Director of the Cultural Fire Management Council (CFMC), a 501 (c)(3) organization located on the upper Yurok Reservation in far Northern California, and co-founder and co-lead of the Indigenous People's Burn Network (IPBN), will discuss how these two entities are helping tribes revive their traditional burn practices.
The IPBN is a support network led by Native American people who are revitalizing their traditional fire cultures in a contemporary context. The long-term goal of the IPBN is to assist indigenous nations across the U.S. and abroad to reclaim their traditional fire regimes. Cultural practitioners of the Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk tribes, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy piloted this project which culminated in the creation of the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which outlines a pathway for the three tribes to reclaim their traditional burn practices. The CFMC is in the process of implementing the strategies outlined in the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which include 1) Establish a family-led burn program, 2) Build local capacity, 3) Initiate Collaborative burning and learning opportunities, 4) Strengthen state and federal support of cultural burning.
The mission of the Cultural Fire Management Council is “to facilitate the practice of cultural burning on the Yurok Reservation and Ancestral lands, which will lead to a healthier ecosystem for all plants and animals, long term fire protection for residents, and provide a platform that will in turn support the traditional hunting and gathering activities of Yurok." Their long-term goal is to fully reclaim our sovereign right to use fire as a tool to restore Yurok ancestral territory to a healthy, viable ecosystem that supports the cultural lifeways of Yurok people
The CFMC has several strategies for achieving these goals. These include ongoing implementation of a cultural burn fire program, strengthening state and federal support of cultural burning, building local capacity, public outreach about good fire, and intergenerational transfer of knowledge.
Margo graduated from Humboldt State University in 1987. Margo comes from the traditional Yurok village of Morek and is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe. She gathers and prepares traditional food and medicine and is a basket weaver and regalia maker. She is also the Indian Education Director for the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School district, a mom, and a grandma.