‘Fire’ is known by many terms in many languages. Firesticks uses the term ‘cultural fire’ to describe the myriad ways fire occurs in cultural practice and belief. Cultural fire has spirit and authority and must be respected. The cultural values and practices that manifest as cultural fire are underpinned by a fundamental intent and knowledge of cultural custodians to care for community and country. This can be understood through the interconnected relationships and kinship between all elements and beings.
Join Oliver Costello as he talks about the Firesticks Initiative, which provides Indigenous leadership, advocacy and action to protect, conserve and enhance cultural and natural values of people and country through cultural fire and land management practices.
Oliver Costello, a Bundjalung man, leads the Firesticks Initiative he co-founded in 2009 while completing university and the Centre for Sustainability Leadership Fellowship Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education and Community Management at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). He is deputy chair of the Northern Rivers Fire and Biodiversity Consortium, a Visiting Fellow at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS and a founding Director of the Northern Rivers Connecting Country Alliance Aboriginal Corporation.
Combining a broad range of experiences in Indigenous Natural Cultural Resource management and Indigenous governance, Oliver works as an advisor on cultural fire and as a project officer in Aboriginal Heritage and Joint Management at the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Along with many communities, organisations and stakeholders, Oliver engages in and develops a range of collaborative approaches to support Indigenous leadership, empowerment, partnerships and recognition of cultural knowledge and practice through community led mentorship on country.