TRADITIONAL Owners from across the state recently made the journey north to Nowra to share fire techniques that have survived for thousands of years and discuss new strategies to help heal country in Victoria.

The strategies were discussed at the Firesticks’ 10th National Indigenous Fire Workshop (NIFW) held on Yuin Country at Bundanoon near Nowra in New South Wales last month.

National Firesticks Alliance Director Oliver Costello said the workshop was held to bring Traditional Owners together to rekindle and build on the thirst for knowledge about the right fire for country. Over the weekend fire practitioners used and shared Indigenous teaching methods, empowering that Traditional Owners to take these back and continue to explore how cultural burning can be re-introduced to the landscape as a tool to heal country.

Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation Traditional Owner Shane Monk said these methods are incredibly important to Victorian Traditional Owners who have never witnessed healthy Country in the true sense of the word.

“Cultural Burning will help us heal Country and get it back to what it was like before colonisation,” he said.

“At the workshop, all the mobs got along and learnt off each other. Our responsibility is to country and to make it healthy, and that means working together across borders.”

The NIFW is considered an opportunity for the Victorian mobs to come together around practice and continue building relationships outside of the Native Title space.

The Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations supported more than 30 Traditional Owners from across the state to attend the workshop, and is facilitating Traditional Owners to lead the development of the Victorian Cultural Burning Strategy.

Federation Natural Resource Management Policy Advisor Matt Shanks said the NIFW was another opportunity for knowledge holders to come together and continue their journey towards enabling Victorian Traditional Owners to use fire to manage Country across tenure.

“The Bundanon property offered Country consistent with Victorian landscapes and those techniques and learnings can be adapted by Victorian Traditional Owners,” he said.

Due to the building momentum for Cultural Burning in South-east Australia, National Firesticks Alliance and Victorian Traditional Owners are discussing Victorian prospective locations for the 2019 NIFW.

For further information or comment please contact Alexandra Sheehy on 0420 314 221.