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Koori cultural awareness comes to Echuca
As part of CFA’s Koori Inclusion Action Plan, local Wolithiga Elder Professor Henry Atkinson will be specially presenting an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Session on Wednesday 30 September, 2015.
Echuca Fire Brigade will host the event which includes over 10 local brigades plus staff from the local CFA District.
Professor Henry, who is also a former Echuca Fire Brigade member, joined the brigade as a young boy in 1954.
“CFA taught me a lot and gave me many skills in a difficult time for Aboriginal people. I was a running team member for the brigade (and later for the Boronia Fire Brigade) and travelled across the state competing in the CFA running championships,” he said.
“Being an Indigenous person gave me self-esteem, confidence and pride to be accepted as part of CFA.”
Prof Henry Atkinson, now a Professor of Education at Deakin University, will deliver the session alongside another Wolithiga Elder, Richard Ronnan and the Yorta Yorta Nations Cultural Heritage Manager, Ray Ahmat.
CFA District 20 Operations Manager Peter Taylor said it is with enormous personal pride that we have taken the first steps in building knowledge and trust between CFA staff, volunteers and the Koori communities within our District.
“I encourage all CFA members interested in attending to take these first steps towards a greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture and their great heritage,” Mr Taylor said.
It is important for CFA to get an understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage and what local brigades can do to help protect significant sites. Scarred trees are vulnerable to fire and CFA wants to learn what they can do to help protect these sites on private property.
Plus many of our CFA members would not have been taught much about Aboriginal culture and history when they went to school as it was glossed over back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, so this is a chance for our members to learn about Victoria’s history.
CFA and the Aboriginal community share a culture of fire and an enthusiasm for bringing fire back into the environment in a safe and controlled way.
“There is plenty to share and learn from each other; what a great opportunity for CFA members around Echuca,” Mr Taylor said.
When: Wednesday 30th September 2015
Time: 7.00pm to 9.30pm
Place: Echuca Fire Station, 245-249 Pakenham Street, Echuca
* Light Supper will be provided