Our mother is hurting, Our people are hurting , we are hurting deep.
It’s more complex than is able to be entirely expressed here.
And sadly its impacting via the form of one of most Sacred Elements of life. Our Dear Fire.
Fire has had a place on this land since time immemorial, as we all know well .
But Fire has been one of the last bastions colonial foundations and constructs have allowed our peoples space back within.
Our elders have been fighting for years for our practices with fire to be re-implemented, yet the first Indigenous cultural burns planning officer in present day so called Victoria was only employed in 2016.
This deep disconnect of our peoples from working with fire pains me every day.
Where possible I use fire to heal; to heal self, loved ones, land and ancestors. But our practices across the whole land have been limited. Though Dja Dja Wurrung peoples have been taking a lead in this part of the world, fire from our peoples has not been in the land.
The strange irony now is that in places where First Nations peoples have been left out of Fire Management/ Custodianship, many of our peoples are having to evacuate.
With the severity of these burns many First Nations peoples may now be severely impacted to the point they can never move back to country. That is a devastating and entirely harrowing potential reality right now. The fact we have been prevented from being the primary custodians of our lands has left us in the gravest position of risk to move off country.
Deep set colonial architecture of place is the skeleton that has held the furnace alight for these devastating conditions.
Our peoples having to relocate because of these fires could spell a very clear slicing of the umbilical cord of connecting of Mob to country which could have lasting impacts for generations to come.
This cannot occur.
Our peoples need to be on country. They have remained there through turbulent political and social times since the colonial machine set in.
Why, because our ancestral connection is real, it is palpable, tangible, and it is proven that when our peoples are taking care of country, so many markers of a healthy society are achieved.
Some communities are going to have to rebuild. Some from the raw earth again itself. So many tragedies.
Colonialism has burnt its hands and we are dying as part of its plummet from the ivory tower. This is the epitome of colonial violence at the moment. And the thing with colonial violence in its full force, it flips back on itself and ends up killing any who lay in its path.
I am devastated for all that have been affected by these fires. But the future, the future can be safer for all.
We can have a future where fire is sacred in all its ways on this land. And ultimately we can have a society built around fire. Fire however for healing and sustenance as it was always intended. To replenish, to nourish, to protect. It can be a symbol of the preciousness of life here. It is core to this land and we must find ways to engage the deep symbiosis built in love that this land, fire and peoples are truly intended to have, under First Nations Lore.
We can get back to proper ways of incorporating all into the broader essence of what it means to be living on our custodial countries. We can create Sacred spaces through all communities and turn this whole land into a broadly respected sacred cultural site again . it always has been that but the light bulbs of spirit in all to see and feel that is vital. First Nations peoples must lead that.
As a part of this we need our First Nations communities supported on solid grounds to heal from this tragic experience and when they feel stable again, to lead the way forward unencumbered whether that be Gunai Kurnai Land, Yuin or any of these affected landscapes. These are now precious places that are the building blocks for some of the most powerful First Nations leadership we have had since colonialism begun its imprint here.
I want to do all in my power to support this. And this is why I have felt called amongst so many other reasons seeing our peoples suffering to start a GoFundMe campaign to help our peoples specifically through this difficult time firstly so that they be able to be in a position of health and wellness connected to country to take their rightful places back in their communities to the most powerful extent.
The fire predicament is breaking my heart. The impacts on First Nations Communities has been marked and horrific for some families. I've put together a Fundraising campaign to help raise money for this tragic predicament. Link below 🖤https://t.co/AfH44DH7fL
Indigeneity needs to be central to the next steps in this conversation. It has not been one of the broader topics at hand at the moment of the ‘Australian’ consciousness. News have spent more time reporting on losses of Wealthy Resorts/ Tourist business, Exotic animal farms and anything but Indigenous stories. What a deep shame that truly is.
The next steps of transformation of this land are in motion, and it’s with all of us to lead that motion in our own ways, with First Nations peoples at front to tread a path through our lands with 80,000 plus years of knowing etched into the DNA of every single Indigenous person across this land.
That has to be one of the greatest assets for change a society could want for.
Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung man, Community Empowerment/Rights Advocate and Artist (musician - DRMNGNOW)
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