By Kit Shepherd
Transition Bondi’s recent August Inner Transition evening was an intimate gathering of the Steering Group. They have been following the theme of Indigenous Cultural Awareness for the past year, with short films, book discussions and focused conversations. We are keen to expand our knowledge, and shift our perspectives on issues regarding race relations and Australia’s history, by becoming better informed.
The Inner Transition program (8-10 people max) happens in a cosy home-based setting, where conversation can flow easily.
The short documentary film we watched was from ABCTV Australian Story: Fighting Fire with Fire https://www.abc.net.au/austory/fighting-fire-with-fire/12134242
It is about Victor Steffenson, ‘the face of the cultural burning movement’. You might like to watch it with friends, to find out about this important, age-old indigenous practice of caring for country.
Here is a response from one of those who came to the event:
“Inner transition is always a lovely space to connect and discuss on a meaningful level. Fighting Fire with Fire was a wonderful documentary (I hope everyone reading this takes half an hour to watch it).”
“Although the backdrop of the catastrophic bushfires from earlier this year is heartbreaking and ominous, there was an incredible sense of possibility with cultural burning. The shift in thinking from fire as a scary thing to something that can be gentle and used to improve the landscape is a big jump for me, but actually seeing cultural burning taking place helped me to imagine what fire management could look like.”
“The image of one of the Elders in the documentary lying casually by a fire he’d lit, perfectly relaxed and content, was so quietly powerful. Seeing footage of the Elders giving so generously their knowledge filled me with so much gratitude, but also a sadness, for what we have all lost for not appreciating and listening to the Indigenous perspective sooner.”
“For me, the sense of possibility with cultural burning was bolstered by the inclusion of white Australians, particularly Firefighters, in the film. It was so humbling to see them open to a different way of doing things, and acknowledging their own wrongdoings and the need for change. Working together, Indigenous and non-indigenous, and learning from each other, there seems to be a positive way forward.”
Adn you, what do you do to shift your perspectives on issues regarding race relations and Australia’s history?