On 12-15 July 2018, the four-day 2018 National Indigenous Fire Workshop was held at Bundanon property in Yuin Country on the New South Wales south coast. Participants came from as far north as Napranum, Cape York in northern Queensland to Truwana in Tasmania, and from as far west as the APY Lands in Central Australia. The last day of the workshop was a Cultural Fire Day that was open to the public.
The National Indigenous Fire Workshop evolved from the Awu-Alaya speaking Elders, Kuku Thaypan Fire Management research project in Cape York along with the foresight and teachings of Cape York fire practitioners and respected Kuku Thaypan Elders, the late Dr George Musgrave and Dr Tommy George. Their work is greatly respected and has gone on to inspire communities all over the country and brought people together to learn about Aboriginal fire management and appropriate research methodologies. This was the tenth annual National Indigenous Fire Workshop and is the first time the event has left its birthplace of Cape York and travelled to honour other communities within the Indigenous fire networks. Workshop participants learn first-hand how to read Country, animals, trees, seasons, and understand the cultural responsibility of looking after Country.
The 2018 Workshop masterclasses were delivered through practical demonstrations which focused on:Monitoring techniques and indicators, ethnobotany, understanding invasive native plants, traditional dancing and weaving, sharing of local knowledge, cultural burning of gum and sand Country, reflecting and planning for rebuilding cultural fire practice.
During the Workshop and over the fourteen days that followed, 150 hectares of surrounding Yuin Country were treated with the ‘good fire’. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with over 90% of respondents reflecting that the Workshop helped them connect to Country and community and increased their knowledge of Indigenous fire management practices. Over 60% of participants said they are likely to change their fire management practices because of the Workshop, with another 30% unsure of their ability to influence current practices but still very supportive of the rebuilding of cultural fire management. Each year the Firesticks Alliance will co-deliver the workshop in a different location to share this privileged event. The aim is to maximise the traditional learning of Aboriginal fire knowledge across Australia and to strengthen healthy people and Country through fire.
National Indigenous Fire Network 2018 Bundanon Report now available to view and download here.