How Aboriginal Stories of Fire may have Shaped Contemporary Burning Practices

By Sonia Tidemann.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Aboriginal stories depict fire in a variety of ways - for warmth, cooking and for wreaking vengeance. Across the different language groups, that once existed in Australia, fire is also created in numerous ways and appears to be highly valued. Some stories describe burning of the landscape, for example, Willy Wagtail who wanted Owl’s fire, stole it and set fire to Owl’s hunting grounds because Owl wouldn’t share his fire. The geographic locations of Aboriginal burning of the landscape, through their stories, are used to examine contemporary burning practices in the same regions to consider how Aboriginal practices may have informed contemporary ones.

Keywords: Aboriginal, Australia, Fire, Stories, Burning

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 11, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 718.214KB).

Dr Sonia Tidemann

A/Head, Academic & Research Division, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Australia

From secondary to tertiary teaching at the Australian National University, Canberra and, after a Masters in educational psychology, to a PhD in bird behavioural ecology. Then a research scientist in northern Australia focusing on the endangered Gouldian Finch. From there to Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education where, for the last 12 years, my focus has been capturing Indigenous knowledge before it is too late, raising the status of traditional ecological frameworks and integrating Indigenous knowledge with western constructs.

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