2020 Micro-Grant Winner: Joshua Neufeld/Gathering Voices Society

About Joshua:

I’m a photographer and videographer working with Gathering Voices Society, a Vancouver based non-profit organization. Gathering Voices Society works with First Nations communities to implement proactive fire management programs based in First Nations cultural values.

Grant Category: Videography

Canadian Winner

The Art of Fire Keeping: Indigenous Wildfire Management

Project Vision:

The next rounds of cultural burning are scheduled for November 2020. The Gathering Voices Society (GVS) team work with Xeni Gwetin and Yunesit’in to apply fire to the land to reduce fuel loads and tree encroachment on native grasslands. This cultural burning is a holistic approach to preventing catastrophic wildfire , applying a ‘cool’ fire to the land at the right time, which germinates dormant seeds, reduces non-native invasive plants, and allows for fresh growth of native species. We will use drone footage to document this burning process and to monitor areas over time. The drone footage will provide important insight into the effect of cultural burning on the land over time.

Previous Work:

Favorite thing about firefighting:

My experience with wildfire management has come through the lens of First Nations cultural values. My favourite thing about it is the holistic approach they take to managing the land. Their values put themselves in a relationship of reciprocity with the land, using fire to help heal the land and bring benefits to the entire ecosystem. It’s been a fascinating, educational journey.

More of Joshua and GVS’s work: