CFA staff based in Burwood East had the pleasure of experiencing first hand a traditional Smoking Ceremony conducted by traditional owner, Elder Uncle Collin Hunter, for CFA headquarters.
Gathered in the sunshine next to the lake, CFA Chief Executive Officer Paul Smith and Chief Officer Steve Warrington spoke on the importance of this ancient practice and CFA’s relationship with indigenous communities, and the important lessons for CFA in relation to fire and traditional burning.
Paul Smith said that for CFA the Smoking Ceremony had a special meaning, with many district offices and brigades engaging this practice.
Collin Hunter, an Elder from the Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land where CFA HQ stands, spoke about the importance of preserving aboriginal culture and heritage and paying respect to the land, plants and animals alike.
He encouraged everyone to learn more about his people and their stories of self-determination. Collin illustrated that fire had played a key role in traditional owner practices for thousands of years, in daily and cultural life including for cooking and hunting, through a practise called fire stick farming.
CFA Executive Director Volunteers and Strategy John Haynes planned the Ceremony as a way to engage with traditional owner practices, and also to highlight CFA’s Koori Inclusion Action Plan, which at the core is a commitment from CFA to strengthen Aboriginal inclusion and engagement across everything we do.
‘Working Together’ is the theme of the Plan and it centres on sharing the stories and experiences of our shared culture of fire.