Fire Country by Victor Steffensen
Delving deep into the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges we face, Fire Country is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of Indigenous fire practices, including improved ’reading’ of country and undertaking ’cool burns’, could help to restore our nation.
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.
Victor’s story is unassuming and honest, written in a way that reflects the nature of yarning. And while some of the knowledge shared in his book may be unclear to western world views, there is much evidence that, if adopted, it could benefit all Australians.
For every copy sold, Hardie Grant will donate $1 to Firesticks, which empowers Indigenous fire management practitioners to revive cultural burning.
About the Author
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. 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.
Published: 18th February 2020
Number Of Pages: 240
"FIRE COUNTRY - This book is as personal as the author's life journey and as rich as a reformer's manifest.
Through the pages of Fire Country you meet and follow the adventures of a young Aboriginal man as he searches for his life purpose. The descriptions are so honest that it feels like you're standing there with Victor as he learns culture and fire from the Elders. Side by side, your eyes are opened to truly see Country, to read it and discover how to look after it.
This book is extremely relevant if we want to see our beautiful land healed and never experience again the tragedy of widespread wild fires of early 2020. Fire Country is an invitation to learn from Aboriginal Elders and Fire practitioners how to manage and protect Country, how to heal it so that we can be healed.
It all starts with unity beyond differences, with every one who calls Australia home embracing the unique role that they can play in this "new" way of life that is as old as thisprecious land itself."