A COMMON STEREOTYPE ABOUT AMERICAN INDIANS
is that for centuries they lived in static harmony with nature in a pristine wilderness that remained unchanged until European colonization. Omer C. Stewart was one of the first anthropologists to recognize that Native Americans made a significant impact across a wide range of environments. Most important, they regularly used fire to manage plant communities and associated animal species through varied and localized habitat burning. In Forgotten Fires, editors Henry T. Lewis and M. Kat Anderson present Stewart’s original research and insights, first presented in the 1950s yet still provocative today. Significant portions of Stewart’s text have not been available until now, and Lewis and Anderson set the anthropologist’s findings in the context of current knowledge about Native hunter-gathers and their uses of fire.
“Not only is Omer Stewart’s original manuscript long overdue, but the introductory essays by Henry T. Lewis and M. Kat Anderson are real value-laden scholarship in their own right.”
–STEPHEN J. PYNE, author of Fire: A Brief History
“Lewis and Anderson have performed a great service in salvaging a useful book and positioning it within the current literature…. [Stewart] would be pleased to
see his work finally reach the larger audience it has always deserved.”
-JOURNAL OF ARIZONA HISTORY
OMER C. STEWART authored the award-winning Peyote Religion: A History. HENRY T. LEWIS was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and author of Patterns of Burning in California: Ecology
and Ethnohistory. M. KAT ANDERSON is the national ethnoecologist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and author of Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the
Management of California’s Natural Resources.