Educational interventions for Native youth who misuse fire are designed as a series of lesson plans to be used with youth, ages 12 to 17. The goal is to help the youth understand the impact their decision to set a fire has on the land, the community, the Tribe, and their family. The lesson plans provide the youth with the opportunity to be held accountable for their behavior while empowering them to complete community service projects to restore their relationship with the community.

Each of the interventions is intended to be adapted to reflect the valued traditions of individual Tribes using the program and to meet the unique needs of the youth referred for services.

Intervention 1: Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel is a symbol of the harmony, balance, and peaceful interaction among all living beings on Earth. Traditionally this is depicted with a circle representing the sacred cycle of life and a color or animal representing the four elements of life (earth, air, water, and fire). The youth will create a Medicine Wheel to assist them in understanding how misusing fire can have financial and emotional consequences that impact their family, their community, and their Tribe; assist them in understanding how they are connected with others in their community/Tribe; assist them in understanding their role in the harmony, balance, and peace between all living things; educate them about the consequences their decisions have on the other elements of their Medicine Wheel.

Intervention 2: The Talking Circle

The Talking Circle is a healing process that allows a group to come together in a quiet, respectful manner for the purpose of teaching, learning and sharing. For the purpose of this intervention, the Talking Circle is used as a healing process that allows the youth and those affected by his/her fire to share their thoughts and feelings about the incident as a way to: understand and learn from one another; teach the youth and others in the circle to communicate more effectively; educate the youth about the consequences his/her fire and the impact their fire has had on others; provide the youth and others in the circle an opportunity to relax, heal from the incident.

Intervention 3: My Fire Story

Before written history, myths about the Origin of Fire became part of the oral tradition of many Tribes. This is testimony to the respect and value Native American have for fire. Many Tribes have a unique story of how fire came to their people. Learning their Tribe’s story of the Origin of Fire and creating a story of their own provides the youth with the opportunity to: experience and learn from Tribal elders about the oral tradition of their Tribe and to learn the value of fire as a sacred tool.

Intervention 4: Giving Back to the Community

Community service offers a purposeful response to the youth’s decision to set a fire by allowing the youth to give back to his/her community. By focusing on repairing the damage caused and the needs of the community, a community service project can restore the balance between the youth and his/her Tribal community by giving back.

Additional Information

Contact Us

Division of Wildland Fire Management
National Interagency Fire Center, 3383, S. Development Ave
Boise, ID 83705