Pip Podcast #30: Aboriginal Fire Management with Victor Steffensen

In our latest Pip Podcast we explore the fascinating work of Victor Steffensen, author of ‘Fire Country’.

Victor is a Tagalaka man from Northern Queensland and an expert on Aboriginal fire management. His timely book on Aboriginal fire management has struck a chord worldwide as people search for answers to our bushfire and climate crises.

Victor is an Indigenous Australian writer, musician and consultant. In the podcast he shares his journey learning the traditional skills of fire management from elders as a young man.

Victor explores the nuances of traditional fire knowledge and the way in which knowledge was traditionally shared. And the importance of listening to traditional knowledge holders to holistically care for our landscapes.

“This is not just about fire,”Victor says, underlining one of the central themes in his book.

The Western way of doing things has not worked out for people on many levels: socially, for community and the earth.

“We need to change the status quo, and move forward in a new direction. This is about younger generations carrying on this knowledge.”

Victor’s approach to fire is refreshingly holistic. Firstly, he says, to change our approach to fire we must decolonise our society and take a deeper approach to caring for all the elements in the landscape.

Victor shares his vision for a decentralised model by which communities drive a move towards Aboriginal fire management projects themselves.

So you’re keen to get involved?

Well, Victor has a few tips. Firstly, educate yourself on the topic and raise your own awareness of the topic.

Secondly, Victor also suggests seeking out people in your own local community who are doing this work. And we’d like to recommend that you read his powerful book, ‘Fire Country’ and support the work of Firesticks.

If you would like to find out more about Victor’s work, you can also read an excerpt from the book in Issue 17 of Pip Magazine, coming out in June 2020. To stay in touch subscribe to Pip Magazine or sign up for our podcast.

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