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Australia, you have unfinished business. Itís time to let our 'fire people' care for this land


Bowman, D and Lehman, G, Australia, you have unfinished business. It's time to let our 'fire people' care for this land, The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 28 May 2020 (2020) [Magazine Article]

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Since last summerís bushfire crisis, thereís been a quantum shift in public awareness of Aboriginal fire management. Itís now more widely understood that Aboriginal people used landscape burning to sustain biodiversity and suppress large bushfires.

The Morrison governmentís bushfire royal commission, which began hearings this week, recognises the potential of incorporating Aboriginal knowledge into mainstream fire management.

Its terms of reference seek to understand ways "the traditional land and fire management practices of Indigenous Australians could improve Australiaís resilience to natural disasters".

Incorporating Aboriginal knowledge is essential to tackling future bushfire crises. But it risks perpetuating historical injustices, by appropriating Aboriginal knowledge without recognition or compensation. So while the bushfire threat demands urgent action, we must also take care.

Accommodating traditional fire knowledge is a long-overdue accompaniment to recent advances in land rights and native title. It is an essential part of the unfinished business of post-colonial Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Magazine Article
Keywords:Aboriginal fire management, Australia
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sociology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Bowman, D (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Lehman, G (Dr Greg Lehman)
ID Code:145803
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Aboriginal Engagement
Deposited On:2021-08-06
Last Modified:2021-08-06

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