One CFA district was on the front foot for National Reconciliation Week, ensuring every brigade received a book about Indigenous traditional fire management to help CFA members appreciate the shared culture of fire.
“As a very small token of our appreciation to all volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we have given a copy of the book “Fire and the story of burning Country” to all District 14 brigades, said Acting Operations Manager David Harris.
The district realised that National Reconciliation Week followed soon after National Volunteer Week, and it seemed like an opportune time to share the stories and images in the book. There is a lot of momentum building in relation to traditional burning in Victoria so it's important for CFA to spread the word and help members understand what it is all about.
“We hope to generate awareness and support for the 2017 Reconciliation Week theme which is 'Let’s take the next steps'," said Acting Operations Manager David Harris.
CFA is committed to seeking opportunities to further learn about Aboriginal people’s rich cultural history and see how their cultural practices in land management may be recognised and celebrated by CFA.
So far the response to the book has been positive with brigades saying they are keen to learn more.
“Toolern Vale Brigade is getting back into planned burning in our area, and we were really excited to receive the book as it opened our eyes to learning more about how Aboriginal people also used burning to manage the land,” said Chanel Forbes from Toolern Vale Brigade.
“The book was really well-received and timed perfectly as a couple of Christmas Hills Brigade Management Team members, along with a local Landcare representative, Wurundjeri elder and EMV representative, took part in a long-planned meeting with one of the book’s contributors, Victor Steffenson from Cape York, last week!”
“The brigade is looking into traditional burning practices and their potential use in the Christmas Hills area as the next step to the Firescape program. The book will be a great way for other brigade members to gain a better understanding of the practice”said the Christmas Hills Fire Brigade.
The photos in the book are quite captivating and compelling, helping to tell the story of fire. The books photographer, Peter McConchie stated “we have an enormous amount of respect for the work that you [CFA] do across Victoria, this is where we also call home.”
“Thank you, I’m so grateful for the direction you are heading in with the books… I have also watched CFA’s film ‘The Culture of Fire’ and it is really moving for me, to know that the CFA are engaging with Koori Mob warms my heart, well done on many levels with this initiative.”