Amrita Australia Bushfire Initiative is a community support programme dedicated to healing fire devastated land, rescuing injured wildlife, restoring collapsed ecosystems and supporting the recovery of people directly impacted by the fires that ravaged parts of NSW and Victoria in late 2019 and early 2020.
This programme is a collaborative effort between one of Amma’s Australian organisations, Amrita Australia and Traditional Cultural Practices (TCP), an NGO dedicated to ensuring that traditional cultural practices and knowledge from the First Nations people of Australia are respected, supported and continue to evolve.
From September 2019 to March 2020 much of South Eastern NSW and East Gippsland Victoria was hit by catastrophic wild fires, devastating the land and its ecosystems. It is believed that the fires burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares (46 million acres; 186,000 square kilometres), destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) and killed 34 people. Nearly three billion terrestrial vertebrates alone – the vast majority being reptiles – were affected and some endangered species have now been driven to extinction
The bushfire healing project was initiated and led by TCP, under the guidance of First Nations Yuin Elder, Uncle Max Harrison. The project focused on planting over 5000 trees and understory flora to heal severely burnt Country in areas of South Eastern NSW and East Gippsland, Victoria where the fires were the most devastating.
Uncle led this healing, as it is his Cultural responsibility to care for Country. In his words ...
“to care for our primary Mother that births all we need to survive and be nourished. This responsibility belongs to all people.”
The focus of this project is on strengthening awareness on our true responsibilities to Mother Earth and to bring Communities together for a spiritually guided hands on approach to Healing - one seedling at a time, bringing new life to land and the life upon it.
Through replanting over 5000 trees and understory across burnt country, ecosystems are recreated supporting life in all its forms into the future. This includes a focus on flowering plants which in turn support the return of native bees, which are central to repairing eco systems. Elders and Community were assisted in the replanting and weeding work by a range of volunteers directly impacted by the fires. Through a ceremonial approach to healing Country communities affected were also supported in their personal recovery.
Amrita Australia deeply appreciates the support of Peter McConchie from TCP for taking the lead in this project and for the amazing video footages. We also thank and acknowledge Yuin Elders and Community leaders for their spiritual and practical guidance, the Tarrawood Native Nursery Bega Valley NSW and Wildseed Nursery East Gippsland Victoria for their botanical species advice and expertise and all the volunteers for their time and dedication.
We must stand and work together for the preservation of our beautiful Mother Earth. If you would like to know more about Amrita Australia projects, click here.
"Though ancestors lacked modern education and technology, they were aware of the mysteries of life and nature. The aboriginals of all countries have understood the mystery. They lived in harmony with the Supreme power. They worshipped the wind, ocean, earth, sky, lighting and thunder. Also they worshipped sun, moon and other planets. But, we rejected and branded them as primitive. Today, we need to learn and implement the lessons offered by those so-called primitive people. Only if we do that can the next few generations survive.” - Amma
Watch this video to learn more
Traditional Cultural Practices (TCP)
TCP is an Elders led non-government organisation dedicated to ensuring that traditional knowledge and Cultural practices from the World’s oldest living Culture remains strong and through this continues to support positive physical and mental health outcomes for the First Nations People and Communities of Australia.
Yolngu are the best people for the healing process. We speak our own language, know our people and our Culture.”... Banduk Marika, The Elders Report into Preventing Indigenous Self Harm and Youth Suicide.
Max Dulumunmun Harrison
‘Uncle Max’ Dulumunmun Harrison is an Elder of the Yuin Nation (NSW) who devotes his life to sharing traditional teachings and speaking on life, land, spirit and forgiveness.
Uncle Max is an initiated Yuin man. His teachings have been passed down to him by five masters of Aboriginal Lore.
He is a widely respected Elder, who has been on the National Board of Elders, released several books on First Nations culture, including ‘My Peoples Dreaming’ and is recognised as a Spiritual healer by many.
Uncle Max is well respected all along the South Coast of New South Wales through his work as a community Elder in his traditional Yuin country. Although Uncle Max’s involvement on walks on Country are now limited, he still plays a vital part in Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness by advising and overseeing his family uphold and sharing Yuin culture.
Peter grew up with close Family and Cultural ties to the clan groups of North East Arnhem Land NT.
He has travelled the Country for close to three decades, working in and
documenting Community led Cultural health initiatives with a focus on shifting philanthropic support to Community owned and operated healing programs In 2014 Peter photographed, recorded and produced “The Elders Report into Preventing Indigenous Self Harm & Youth Suicide”. And during this time began Culture is Life an organisation dedicated to Community led support for at risk Indigenous Youth.
As an author he has written and recorded numerous books on traditional Cultural life and the Australian Environment. And is published by Pan Macmillan, Hardie Grant, Cambridge University press and more. Some of his titles include Yolngu Mali (Aboriginal Spirit), Elders Wisdom from Australian Indigenous Leaders, Fire & the Story of Burning Country and My People’s Dreaming.
Collaboration with Amrita Australia Limited
Amrita Australia is honoured to be working with First Nation Elders and Community, and the dedicated team at TCP in support of projects centred on the traditional homelands of the people of the First Nations people of Australia. These projects are Elder led and designed to support Community to live and flourish on their Traditional lands keeping their Communities strong and safe and in doing so keeping their Culture alive.
All donations are welcome to further support this project and the First Nations people and Culture of Australia. To find out more about this project email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tax deductible donations through Amrita Australia Limited can be made online.
Further information about Amrita Australia’s other outreach programmes such as The Galupa Project, Mother’s Kitchen, Amrita Pantry, Kids Breakfast Club, and more can be found here.
Thank you for your support!
AAL acknowledges and respects Elders past, present and emerging. It is they who provide our vision. It is they who guide us. We are responsible to the land as we are to the generations that follow. It is the land that gives us health, life & meaning. The young ones, and the generations that follow. They hold our future…