Indigenous-based symposium

The symposium Our Country - Our Way was held in The Memo Healesville on Tuesday 23 April. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

The Yarra Ranges Council (YRC) hosted a national symposium to discuss the Indigenous knowledge systems building resilience.

The symposium Our Country – Our Way was held in The Memo Healesville on Tuesday 23 April. 

YRC Cultural Recovery Coordinator Nelson Aldridge, a Taungurung man, said the symposium was an Indigenous-based event on the effects of natural disasters.

“We have this symposium to bring in Indigenous knowledge systems in regards to how to possibly make Country more sustainable and be proactive instead of reactive,” he said.

“Resilience has been in Aboriginal culture for thousands of years, and we’re going through that at the moment getting an understanding of Country and how we can work with Country that has a sustainable way going forward.

“YRC is very passionate about these topics of events that are trying to lead the way with the Indigenous development team ensuring that we’re always looking at how to look after the Country. It was a fantastic day and we’re looking forward to the next steps.” 

The event started off with the Indigenous musical instrument performance followed by a Welcome to Country presentation in an Indigenous language by Samantha whose family descended on Coranderrk.

Aileen Blackburn and Buzzy Hewat from Moogji Aboriginal Council based in Orbost were the first guest speakers who spoke about the Black Summer bushfires. 

“They spoke about how it was. It was just a disaster in terms of how agencies communicated with the community afterwards,” Mr Aldridge said.

“We then heard from Dr Carlie Atkinson about trauma-informed practices and the Lismore flood. At the lunch, we had Dr Andrew Peters who talked about resilience and reciprocity.

“And then we had Oonah which is an Aboriginal health organisation in Healesville talking about the services they offer to the community and the role they played in the recovery process of the storm.”