Indigenous fire practice is based on the deep cultural understanding that the right fire at the right time maintains or restores environmental balance. It’s very old knowledge, increasingly supported by contemporary science. As the revival of cultural burning spreads, scientists and land managers are increasingly interested, even though science and traditional knowledge are very different ways of knowing. It’s crucial scientists and academics learn to work appropriately and respectfully with Indigenous people. This is a central part of the story of the revival of cultural burning that began on Cape York Peninsula in the 1990s. Two Kuku Thaypan elders were determined to take care of their country as their culture required. They found a young researcher who would become their student and their ally. Peta Standley talks about meeting Dr George and Dr Musgrave, her many years of research on fire practice, and why it’s so important for Australians to know this story.
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