Fellow Story

Adams co-authors “Solastalgia to Soliphilia: Cultural Fire, Climate Change, and Indigenous Healing”

Abstract: Wildly destructive fires, wind driven through unmanaged and untended lands, take lives and homes and the solace of familiar places. Ash blankets the remains, trauma takes hold, but even when the smoke clears and communities begin to heal, there is a loss beyond words. These wildfires reveal the ways many are lacking relationships with the land. Without good relationships with our environments, we worsen the health of land, plants, and animals. In this article, we foreground the experiential richness of storytelling as we build upon previous publications in Ecopsychology, further supporting the importance of traditional perspectives in promoting ecological understandings of ourselves within and as part of our environments. Cultural fires go by many names, have many objectives, and provide many sources of healing. At the Intertribal Cultural Burns on Southern Sierra Miwuk land hosted by Chairman Goode and Myra Kirk Goode, attendees learn about traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), about cultural practices, and using fire in a good way. Putting fire on the land means becoming attuned to the temperature, the shift in the winds, and the response of a branch waving with smoke. We share food, stories, and laughter. “Soliphilia is the political affiliation or solidarity needed between us all to be responsible for a place, bioregion, planet, and the unity of interrelated interests within it.” According to Chairman Goode, the land is hungry for the return of traditions and traditional ways; hungry for “proper fire” back on the land, hungry for the spirituality. The land, the spirits of the land have been waiting for decades, for centuries, for this “ceremonial fire.” Weaving our varied and overlapping experiences and knowledge together, we illuminate the spirituality of TEK, the powerful Indigenous healing that is nourished by the constructive action of cultural burning, and the hope that grows as solastalgia transforms into soliphilia.


Citation: Erica Tom, Melinda M. Adams, and Ron W. Goode. Solastalgia to Soliphilia: Cultural Fire, Climate Change, and Indigenous Healing. Ecopsychology. Online ahead of print May 15, 2023 http://doi.org/10.1089/eco.2022.0085