The Significance of Cultural Burning for the Nukunu People

Nukunu Wapma Thura (Aboriginal Corporation) [NWTAC] recently led a cultural burn at Wilmington alongside Firesticks Alliance, supported by SA Native Title Services.

Nukunu fire practitioners in uniform demonstrated traditional knowledge-sharing principles about the inherent sacredness of fire to the Nukunu People; how it interacts with Nukunu culture and their
understanding of traditional ecological and property management.

The two-day workshop, which was held on a parcel of land that was returned to the Nukunu People from a private citizen in 2021, brought together invited community members from Nukunu, Narungga,
Ngadjuri, Barngarla, and Kaurna nations.

This group learned about the ways cultural burning helps to maintain biodiversity, stimulate plant regeneration and control invasive species to improve the country’s health.

NWTAC aims to use this Cultural Burn as a prototype to develop a property management plan for their Wilmington property as a place for learning culturally integrated property management practices on

The traditional practice of Cultural Burning on Country had been prohibited on Nukunu Country due to the impact of colonisation and the removal of the Nukunu People from their Country.

However, the UN Declaration on Human Rights summarises the rights of First Nations People to practice their culture. This means that First Nations People of Australia have the legal rights outlined under the Native Title Act 1993, which endorses the practice of culture, including the use of fire – making the practice of Fire Nations fire culture a human right.

The reappearance of this important traditional practice demonstrates a genuine act of Reconciliation and holds deep spiritual and cultural significance for the Nukunu People and their ancestors.

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