šaašaakayolia kiilhswa (Grass Burning Moon) is named for the specific way fires burn during this time of the year. As niipinwi (summer) ends and we move through teekwaaki (fall) the transition to winter begins.  It’s during this time that the forest understory and prairie grasses start to dry out. Generations ago, Myaamia people intentionally lit fires during this time of year. Fire cleared out the brush and brambles in the forests and helped maintain healthy grasses on the prairies. One benefit of these intentional fires was to create habitats that were favorable to big game, like moohswa (white-tailed deer), miihšiwia (elk), and lenaswa (bison).[1] During this month, there is still enough moisture retained in the plant material that fires are of low intensity. These fires mostly smolder and burn in streaky patches.

prairie burn

Fire was a commonly used tool across North America by indigenous groups and was one of the major ways that humans shaped their environment prior to contact with Europeans. Fire created environments that felt like parks to the first European settlers, but they failed to realize that these environments were, at least in part, created through human management. As settlement progressed and the use of fire declined, the understory began to choke out the open spaces in the forests and the dead wood began to accumulate on the forest floor. Many forest management experts believe that the big fires we currently see in the west are the product of over 100 years of human neglect. Once indigenous fire was removed from the ecosystem it disrupted a delicate balance that had existed for 1000s of years.

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[1]Robin Wall Kimmerer and Frank Kanawha Lake, “The Role of Indigenous Burning in Land Management,” Journal of Forestry, November 2001, pp. 36-41.

noonki kaahkiihkwe aahsanteeki neehi tikawi ceeliteeki (89). kaakaathsokone pooni-kiišikahki noošonke siipionki naanaamaamhkiki.

aahsanteeki

noonki peehkonteeki kiinte saakiwa šaašaakayolia (keešaakosita).

saakiwa2

taaniši kiišikahki niiyaaha apiyani?

neemani-nko kati aakalaahšimaataweenki? toohkinanto mihtahkiši.
(For English, click below)

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noonki kaahkiihkwe aalahkwahki peetilaanki tikawi ceeliteeki (77).

tikawi_aalahkwahki

noonki peehkonteeki naawi waawiyiisita (keešaakosita).

naawi waawi

taaniši kiišikahki niiyaaha apiyani?

neemani-nko kati aakalaahšimaataweenki? toohkinanto mihtahkiši.
(For English, click below)

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noonki kaahkiihkwe aahsanteeki peehki ceeliteeki neehi toopalanki (90).

aahsanteeki

noonki peehkonteeki napale waawiyiisita (keešaakosita).

napale

taaniši kiišikahki niiyaaha apiyani?

neemani-nko kati aakalaahšimaataweenki? toohkinanto mihtahkiši.
(For English, click below)

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Mihšiiwia Kiilhswa (Elk Moon) is named for the Eastern American Elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis).  The Eastern Elk subspecies was hunted out in the state of Indiana by the 1840s and declared extinct in North America in 1880.

Brooklyn_Museum_-_American_Elk_-_John_J._Audubon

To the best of our knowledge, this month is associated with the fact that the Eastern Elk used to mate around this time of this year (August & September).  During mating season, the woodlands around the Wabash River would fill with the sounds of male Elk bugling, which is used to call out to females and warn off competing males (click here to listen to an Elk bugle).  The Eastern Elk’s close cousin, the Roosevelt or Western Elk, has been introduced to the woodlands east of the Mississippi, and so it is possible that in a few generations we may once again hear the bugling of Elk along the Wabash.

click here to return to Myaamia Ecology page