Tamworth, Walhallow and Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council’s (LALC) will host a series of workshops in a bid to revitalise cultural fire knowledge on Gamilaraay Country. The workshops will be held across the three LALCs, kicking off in Gunnedah today and wrapping up in Tamworth on Friday.
The LALCs aim to “build knowledge in understanding Country through the lens of a cultural burn practitioner”. The workshops will focus on “knowledge sharing, understanding Country’s need for fire and how to “read” Country”.
The teaching team includes Cultural Burn practitioner Den Barber from Yarrabin Cultural Connections, Ecologist Michelle McKemey and members of the Banbai Rangers, Guyra.
Cultural burning or ‘cool burning’ is part of how Aboriginal people look after country. The millennia-old tradition of fire management is an application of cool and quick burns that preserve the canopy and ensure potentially dangerous fuel for mega-bushfires is controlled.
In recent times, Australia has seen catastrophic bushfires completely devastate the country. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended more conventional firefighting agencies engage with Indigenous people to explore use of the practice and harness thousands of years of Indigenous land management knowledge.
The workshop series are made possible through funding from the Australian Government Indigenous Land and Fire Management Workshops Program.
The workshops received an overwhelming amount of interest and organisers had to turn down interested participants. The LALCs are hoping to run more of the workshops soon.