[by Christine Howes]
Kuku Thaypan Elders Dr George and Dr Musgrave. Image: supplied
Right Country – Right Fire podcast series launched
A national fire workshop, which brought Indigenous fire practitioners from across Australia to New South Wales’ Illawarra in June last year, has resulted in the production and launch of a series of seven podcasts – ‘Right Country – Right Fire’ - aimed at teaching the practice and some of its history.
In the podcasts renowned Indigenous fire practitioner, filmmaker and educator Victor Steffensen recounts the story of how he was taught traditional burning in the early 1990s by Kuku Thaypan Elders Dr George and Dr Musgrave on the Cape York Peninsula.
“We started to use technology for the collection and preservation of Indigenous knowledge,” he said.
“No one was listening to the old people, I got a handicam and I started recording.
“They told me about the trees and the animals and the plants.
“And then they told me about fire.”
The podcasts tell the story of how that small fire in Cape York has grown and supported a national movement.
They recount how cultural fire practice has reinvigorated cultural fire pathways across the country, how cultural fire practice has brought people from all walks of life together to heal the land, and how it has lead the way in contemporary fire management.
Right Country – Right Fire was recorded at the Bundanon 2018 National Indigenous Fire Workshop, hosted by the Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation, in June last year.
The Workshop brought together Indigenous fire practitioners from across Australia to honour cultural fire practice and share their knowledge with people with an interest in caring for country.
Firesticks Alliance Director Oliver Costello said Indigenous Australians had used fire as a tool for managing and healing the land for thousands of years.
“When Europeans first came to Australia, they brought with them a fear of fire,” he said.
“And Europeans suppressed the Indigenous peoples’ traditional fire practice.
“But the knowledge of fire and its uses was shared, passed down and that knowledge survived and has reignited traditional fire practice and culture.
“Right Country – Right Fire is the story of the people keeping cultural fire alive and it is the story of traditional knowledge coming together with science to drive contemporary fire management.
“It is a story told by the people at the forefront of this fascinating movement.”
Right Country – Right Fire is available at http://www.firesticks.org.au/right-country-right-fire-podcast-series/ or wherever you find your favourite podcasts.
The podcast series is a project of The Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation, Mulong and the Importance of Campfires, supported by Cape York Natural Resource Management and is also available at https://capeyorknrm.com.au/landmanager/podcasts/right-country-right-fire
Right Country – Right Fire was written and produced by Richard Dinnen.
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