Many tribes in California and Oregon value California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) as a traditional source of food and other values. Over centuries or millennia, Native Americans learned that they could enhance production of desired resources by regularly igniting low-intensity surface fires in stands of black oak. Although black oak is likely to remain widespread in the future, a warming climate, increasingly dense forests, and altered fire regimes threaten the large, full-crowned mature trees that produce crops of high-quality acorns and provide cavities for many wildlife species. To examine the effects of different kinds of burns on tribal values including associated plants, fungi, and wildlife of special cultural significance, we reviewed and synthesized scientific studies of black oak in conjunction with interviews and workshops with tribal members who use the species and recall burning by their ancestors. We conducted two exploratory analyses to understand trends in large black oaks and potential tradeoffs regarding black oak restoration. Our findings identify opportunities for reintroducing low-intensity fire, in conjunction with thinning, to restore stands that are favorable for acorn gathering. We present examples of such projects and discuss how to overcome challenges in restoring the socioecological benefits of black oak ecosystems for tribes.