Keeping country safe with lessons and solutions-Bruce Pascoe

Kirstyn Lindsay brings you an interview with Yuin, Bunurong Elder and Author Bruce Pascoe for Balit Dhumba-Strong Talk.

Bruce talks about Treaty and land management and the relationship that all of Australia needs to have with the land to keep country safe and protect our wildlife and people.


This interview is a follow up from the recent Griffith University live stream with Kerry

O’ Brien ‘Living with the Land. Learning from the Past.’

In response to the findings from his research in the book Dark Emu-Black Seeds Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe has a conversation about the damage that western systems of agriculture have had on country and how ancient agriculture practices and traditional cool burning are the solution to preventing disasters like the Summer bushfires of 2019/2020.

Bruce Pascoe recalls his personal experience fighting the recent fires on country in Mallacoota and Eden in conditions that could have taken his life.


He shows deep sadness for the loss of cultural sites and scar and canoe trees that hold so many stories and spiritual connections to the Gunnai and Yuin people.

These trees and sites weren't only lost from the fires but also lost due to people cutting down the trees without any understanding of their cultural significance.

Mallacoota New Years Eve 2019-Ken Spackman


From this experience Bruce Pascoe shares the lessons he has been taught from the land and his work with the CFA and how they can provide a solution if government departments are willing to do the work and learn from these lessons.


He says that traditional farming practices of growing trees and native grasses provides a canopy that keeps country safe and that the commercial industry of growing timber for paper is one of the biggest problems in contributing fuel to fires.

From this you can see how the decline of old growth forests contributes to the pollution of waterways and the extinction of species of native wildlife and other habitats, causing loss of life of plant animals and people.

Image of widfires across Australia Jan 1 2020. Landgate Myfire Watcher.


Mr Pascoe says in the short term a seven year plan would help restore and heal country the way the old people looked after it.


He says some family groups he speaks with in the Gippsland region are working to restore traditional farming and agriculture practices and when asked if we will find our way home by restoring these practices? He says it can be done and that in time more and more clans and nations will be doing the same.


If you would like a copy of Dark Emu Black Seeds-Agriculture or Accident here is the link to the Magabala Books website.


Dark Emu won two awards in the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

WINNER – 2016 Indigenous Writer's Prize in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards

WINNER – 2016 Book of the Year in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards

SHORTLISTED – 2014 History Book Award in the Queensland Literary Awards

SHORTLISTED – 2014 Victorian Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing

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