I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Wiradjuri people.
This column is dedicated to those who have gone before us, to those present and to those who will follow us.
LAST week I was fortunate to be invited to attend cultural burning training at Mary Valley in Cape York, in the far north of Queensland.
My story in today’s column is what I’m learning and sharing with all people about this great cultural tool, “Wiiny dunha” (fire stick).
Burning country has been going on ever since Aboriginal men and women witnessed lightning strike our garray (land) and start wiiny (fire).
For thousands of years we have tendered this garray (land) with love and care.
We have used fire to clear our land, so as new life can grow.
We have used fire for many years – to warm ourselves, to cleanse our earth and to create the environment that was amazing and pure.
The first non Aboriginal people who stepped onto our garray (land) saw and wrote that this land is the place of “milk and honey”.
“It appears that whoever is here has tendered, shaped and created a garray (land) that is paradise.”
After colonisation started our fire tools were taken away from Aboriginal people, we were told not to burn.
It has taken more than 200 years for people to start to listen to Aboriginal people and our garray (land).
Traditional burning is coming back.
I can hear our Ngurambang (country) starting to sing and talk again.
Traditional burning, when it is done correctly, is an amazing tool that puts back into Ngurambang (country) what should be here.
It brings back the Balugan (animals) Madhan (tree) and galing (water) it brings back the mayiny (people).
- Mark Saddler
Wiradjuri Gibirr (man)
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