Video lecture: Did Australian Aboriginals burn the bush as we are told? Joel Wright, "The language of fire."
Note: This introduction has been edited for a number of small but important inaccuracies. Candobetter.net editor 29/12/2014.] Fuel reduction and ecological burning etc. are based on the assumption that all Aboriginal people undertook fire-stick farming. Joel Wright, traditional owner in southwest Victoria, is an indigenous language, culture and history researcher. He finds no evidence of wide-scale burning in Aboriginal language and culture, but does find other explanations for the history of aboriginal fires observed by Europeans. These were often smoke-signals exchanged between clans, for general communication and warning of approaching Europeans etc. There was also defensive burning to hinder explorers by burning feed their stock might otherwise eat. Other fires were to 'cover their tracks' when they were being pursued, etc.. Many of these fires were mistaken for landscape burning. Joel also found one record of burning small portions of dry grass around marshes to expose an area to attract birds to scratch for food there, making the birds potential meals for the indigenous hunters. Nowhere did he find anything to justify the destructive and dangerous annual incineration of the landscapes of the Gunditjamara by the Victorian Government. He was concerned that burning the bush as we do now kills the birds and animals so important to vegetation stories, removes scar and burial trees and 'burns micro particles from axes and spears that holds the clues as to what they were used for.The video was recorded from Wright's presentation at Australian Wildlife Protection Council Fire and Wildlife Conference, "Pause and Review Victoria's Fire Management." November 2014
Candobetter.net Editor's comment: The long delay in publishing this remarkable report from researcher, Joel Wright, has nothing to do with its excellence. The delay was the result of fire policy politics associated with the recent change of government, which encouraged candobetter.net and others to suppress discussion until the passing of the Napthine Government. I will try to write about these politics in another article.
I am also waiting on a transcript of the contents of the filmed lecture. - Sheila Newman