Indigenizing Earth Knowledges: Rising from the Ashes
Air Date: 22 September, 2023
Professor Karen Malone & Chief Phil Lane Jr.
Hosted by Ben Bowler
Is it possible to build an alliance between contemporary Western thought and Indigenous philosophies which acknowledges the histories and legacies of colonialisation and western knowledge and does not seek to appropriate or co-opt the ancestral philosophical terrain already occupied by Indigenous epistemologies?
Connecting a leading academic and a leading practitioner in a lively discussion of the opportunities and challenges of how postmodernity can best be informed by the ancient wisdoms of indigenous cultures.
Exploring through the story of a devastating bushfire if it’spossible to build an alliance between contemporary Western thought and Indigenous philosophies which acknowledges the histories and legacies of colonisation. Are we at risk of excluding the ancient philosophical terrain of Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies by claiming western philosophy has found a “new humanities”?
Starting in November 2019 for a period of four months Australia was ravaged by devastating bushfires. Due to its intensity, size, duration, and uncontrollable dimensions, it was named a megafire. Fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and severe drought these massive bushfires killed over 3 billion animals, burnt over 26 million acres, dozens of humans perished, and buildings were destroyed.
Amid the chaos and destruction of the Black Summer fires, polarizing debates dominated the media landscape, with many attributing the disaster to climate change. At the time, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister vehemently criticized those who dared to connect climate
change with the escalating bushfire seasons, labelling them as ‘raving inner-city lunatics’ and ‘greenies.’ In response, the Chief Executive of the National Bushfire and Natural Hazards Research Centre emphasized the urgency of addressing climate change, advocating for a significant shift in our perspective. Fire authorities acknowledged their efforts to prepare for fires but recognized that climate change had rendered their conventional practices ineffective.
During this tumultuous period, Indigenous First Nation Traditional owners from across the nation called attention to the need to revisit Aboriginal cultural burning practices, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the changes in the land and weather since colonization. They offered to share their ancestral fire knowledge with farmers, scientists, and the broader public.