The scientiﬁc and ethnographic record conﬁrms the fact that in southern New England, Indians used ﬁre as a forest management tool, to facilitate travel and hunting, encourage useful grasses and berries, and to clear land for agriculture. Scholars have long suggested that agricultural practices, and hence these uses of ﬁre, ended at the Saco or Kennebec, with Native people east of this divide less likely to systematically burn their forests. This article argues that Native people on the Penobscot River used ﬁre, albeit in more limited ways, to transform the forest and create a natural environment more conducive to their economy. Evidence from oral traditions, place-names, travel accounts, and personal recollections challenges the idea that both agriculture and forest-burning was exclusive to southern New England. James Eric Francis, Sr. is a M.A. candidate in history at the University of Maine and is currently the Penobscot Nation Tribal Historian.
Francis, James E.. "Burnt Harvest: Penobscot People and Fire." Maine History 44, 1 (2008): 4-18. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol44/iss1/2