Walking together as one: plenary after lunch

A yarn about drawing upon traditional knowledge to help manage lands, about protecting and growing culture and knowledge,  and respect for the oldest living culture in the world.

The session started off with a terrific short film about an Aboriginal man working on country. The poignant statement was “As an aboriginal man, we’ve been looking after this country for 65,000 years, and must have been doing something right, if we’ve survived this long”.

Best thing to keep culture alive, is to be proud of it.

Tim Kanoa,  a Gunditjmara man who is the Director for Aboriginal Inclusion with the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning, who get really excited about policy and authorising environments. His payment of respect to the Wurundjeri, was poignant,  mentioning the challenge of keeping the links to country, despite the built environment.

Tim outlined Munganin-Gadhaba, the Aboriginal Inclusion plan, which has three outcomes:

  • Recognition and respect
  • Opportunity and prosperity
  • Participation and collaboration

He talked about getting the policy environment to provide a safe space. Self determination for first nations peoples is the key to this work. This is a group of people who have rights, who have native title connections, and its about equality and respect. Respect is also about how to use languages within the work of Delwp.

Djandak Wi, traditional burning returns, was a fabulous film on the return of traditional fire to the central Victorian highlands, outlining the methods of bring lore back to the practices. The burning is a much lower, and slower intensity fire. The cultural objectives of the dja dja wurrung, were broader than the environmental objectives. Scott Falconer, the assistant chief fire officer for the loddon mallee region, spoke about the cleansing of the land because of a suicide in the area that needed to be smoked out.

One of the challenges that was highlighted was the intersections, between gender and aboriginal issues. Tim highlighted that yes there is men’s and women’s business and places, and they needed be guided by Elders.


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