Outside Science (inside parks): Fire at Knife River Indian Villages

Outside Science (inside parks): Fire at Knife River Indian Villages


(soft upbeat music)
(fire crackling) – [Sierra] Fire isn’t always bad if it’s used in a productive way. – In this episode of Outside Science, we catch up with a group
of middle school students at Knife River Indian Villages. They’re working to make
this prairie beautiful again by reseeding after a controlled burn. Check it out. – So we had students come in today, and we were teaching them about the park, about the history, and most importantly, about prairie restoration. – It’s kind of cool just to
learn about that kind of stuff. – Yeah. – The fifth, sixth, and seventh graders that came out to Knife
River Indian Villages today, some are Hidatsa, Mandan, Arikara that have ancestral ties
to the historic villages that are in Knife River Indian Villages. – The vast majority are Native Americans, which is really cool. So a lot of the teaching
that’s going on here is relevant to their historical culture. – About a month ago,
other individuals here at the park did a prescribed
burn, or a controlled burn, in order to prepare the land for the students who came in today. (fire crackling)
(soft music) – We talked about fire
ecology and prairie ecology, and it goes hand in hand. If we’re talking about
restoring a prairie, it’s even more important. (fire crackling) – It feels really good especially knowing that this was kind of the past and you’re kind of helping it come back. – So those that are with
the yellow headbands– – [Child] We gotta run away. – Run away from them. You don’t want to get tagged by them. – Before we wanted to get the kids out here to spread the seed, we wanted to teach them a little bit about what they were doing. And so we made an activity
where they were playing tag. So they were being super active, but they were involved in learning what was a native species,
what is an invasive species, why do we use prescribed fire,
why is that all important and interconnected to
help restore our prairies? – We’re raking these squares three by two, and we’re gonna plant these seeds. And then next year we’re gonna come back, and then we’re gonna see
the plants that we planted. – What’s cool about this is
we’re helping the environment and our kids and their kids and their kids and their kids and– – [Child] And so on! – Having that ability
to go back to a place where your ancestors walked and they lived is such a powerful thing,
especially for indigenous students where a lot of the places
are no longer there or they’ve been destroyed. – So in Knife River we have the Hidatsa, the tribe that lived in the area. We have the sites from where they lived. And if you don’t have a
physical landmark like that, people might just think it’s a memory or it’s something that doesn’t exist now. It’s important for people to be able to connect to this place because we need to preserve it for the future, and you can learn so much from the past. – It’s gonna be a beautiful sight. Probably some of us might come out here to see all the hard work be paid off. I’m probably gonna end
up doing it, but yeah. (soft music) – [Jesse] Thanks for watching. Check back each month for another episode of Outside Science (inside parks).

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