WHAT IS DECOLONISATION?
* Decolonisation seeks to reverse the process of colonisation by centring the voices and ideas of Indigenous people and their knowledge systems.
* It is the acknowledgement that colonisation is more than just a physical act, it is psychological and cultural as it determines whose knowledge system is privileged and whose is not.
WHAT DOES DECOLONISATION IN PRACTICE LOOK LIKE?
* In Australia, caring for country practices refer to the sustainable land management practices that Indigenous Australians have participated in for more than 60,000 years.
* Examples of Indigenous communities caring for country in Australia include traditional fire stick farming and retrieving ghost nets to repurpose them.
FIRE STICK FARMING (CULTURAL BURNING)
* Cultural burning, also known as fire stick farming and cool burning, is an Aboriginal caring for country practice to manage the landscape.
* It is the practice of creating small controlled fires based on the needs of the land at the time.
* The use of a cultural burn allows animals enough time to escape the fire without causing them any harm.
* Seeds that are lying dormant in the soil are then able to germinate after the cultural burn takes place.
* Cultural burning practices help increase the overall native animal and plant population by removing invasive weeds, this then improves habitat quality for the native species.
* Low-intensity fires eliminate ground cover, meaning cultural burns reduce risk of bushfires.
* Ghost needs are fishing nets that have been discarded, abandoned and lost at sea, beaches and also in harbours and can cause injury and death to marine animals.
Ghost nets account for more than 40 per cent of ocean plastic and can take up to 600 years to break down.
* These nets are being retrieved, recycled and repurposed in the Gulf of Carpentaria, as they float from across the world’s oceans and onto Numbulwar’s shores.
* Removing the nets is a caring for country act as it protects two culturally significant species – turtles and dugongs.
* The Numburindi people then take the ghost nets and weave them into cultural objects in an attempt to tackle the environmental issue.