with Victor Steffensen, in conversation with Ross Williams
Victor Steffensen’s book “Fire Country” was released in February 2020. The book outlines how the revival of Indigenous fire management practices, including improved ’reading’ of country and undertaking ’cool burns’, can help to restore our nation. Released just after the horrific 2019/2020 bushfires caused unimaginable damage, killing billions of animals and traumatising communities around Australia, Victor’s book became a best-seller, and has become influential in helping Australians rethink and come to terms with, Australia’s relationship with fire.
Victor developed a passion for traditional cultural and ecological knowledge from a young age, but it was after leaving high school that Victor met two Elders who became his mentors, particularly to revive cultural burning. Developed over many generations, this knowledge shows clearly that Australia actually needs fire – with burning done in a controlled manner – for land care and healing.
OUR SPEAKER – VICTOR STEFFENSEN
Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant applying traditional knowledge values in a contemporary context, through workshops and artistic projects. He is a descendant of the Tagalaka people through his mother’s connections from the Gulf Country of north Queensland. Much of Victor’s work over the past 27 years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge values – particularly traditional burning – through mentoring and leadership, as well as on-ground training with Aboriginal communities and many non-Indigenous Australians.
Victor is co-founder and advisor to the Board of Firesticks Alliance, which provides Indigenous leadership, advocacy and action to protect Country through cultural fire and land management practices. He is also the co-founder of the National Indigenous Fire Workshops, which have so far been hosted in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Victor has also connected with First Nations communities in North America and the Sámi people of Scandinavia, sharing cultural knowledge practices related to caring for country. Victor is regularly interviewed by media regarding Indigenous fire management, including on The Drum, ABC News, Insight and for The Saturday Paper and Dumbo Feather magazine.
OUR HOST – ROSS WILLIAMS, FUTURE DREAMING
Ross [Timmulbar] Williams is a proud Bindal descendent of the Mt Elliot, Townsville and Cape Cleveland clans and the Juru people of Bowen region on his father’s side, and Erub and Mer in the Torres Straits through his mother’s ‘side. Ross lives, works, and gives recognition and respect to the Yuggera and Turrbal clans and peoples (Brisbane/Meeanjin), as the rightful Traditional Owners and direct descendants of the original inhabitants, and to their ongoing connection to their traditional estates. Ross has lived and worked for many years with First Nations land and water based cultural management and has developed that knowledge over his lifetime. He has worked with governments, private corporations and communities, to develop cross-cultural understanding and collaboration, runs his own consulting business and is a Director of Future Dreaming.
THIS EVENT IS CO-HOSTED AS PART OF AELA’S “EARTH LAWS MONTH”
The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is hosting a huge month of events throughout September – webinars, public lectures, workshops, virtual art exhibitions and more – to explore and celebrate our relationship with the living world. To find out about all our events, please visit: https://events.humanitix.com/tours/earthlaws-month
The Australian Earth Laws Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating Earth-centred systems change, by increasing the understanding and practical implementation of Earth-centred governance. Our programs include a focus on law, economics, education, ethics, Indigenous knowledge systems and the arts.