Rich tra­di­tions kept alive

Albany Extra - - Front Page - Toby Hussey

Abo­rig­i­nal el­ders and Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices and City of Al­bany rep­re­sen­ta­tives de­scended on Van­cou­ver Penin­sula on Wed­nes­day for a tra­di­tional burn for NAIDOC Week.

A sec­tion of Van­cou­ver Penin­sula was set ablaze for a tra­di­tional fire this week in a cer­e­mony hark­ing back to thou­sands of years of Abo­rig­i­nal tra­di­tion.

On July 11, Abo­rig­i­nal el­ders, Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices and City of Al­bany rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­verged at bush­land along Quaranup Road for the one­hour burn­ing cer­e­mony.

Af­ter speeches and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal pre­sen­ta­tions el­ders Ai­den Eades and Carol Pet­tersen per­formed the rit­ual which has roots that stretch back thou­sands of years.

Burn­ing was a key part of Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralian cul­ture and was used to at­tract new an­i­mals to fresh plants, which would be hunted. It was also an easy way to re­move dense and prickly plants, sig­nalling to other groups and for cul­tural cer­e­monies.

Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Great South­ern Su­per­in­ten­dent Wayne Green said the cer­e­mony was a great op­por­tu­nity to learn from Abo­rig­i­nal el­ders how to work on the land dur­ing emer­gen­cies.

“It helps us un­der­stand when we come in with fire­fight­ing strate­gies (how to) con­sider the en­vi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural con­se­quences of that land,” he said. “By en­gag­ing some el­ders who have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the land we might de­cide, for ex­am­ple, to not put heavy ma­chin­ery through it.”

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Noon­gar el­ders Aden Eades and Carol Pet­tersen with DFES train­ing sup­port of­fi­cer Michelle Nes­bitt and Kin­jar­ling In­dige­nous Cor­po­ra­tion’s Ch­eryle James-Wal­lace.

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