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Updated on 24 Jan 2020. Posted on 24 Jan 2020

7 Ways You Can Help Bushfire-Affected Indigenous Communities

Please help in any way you can.

If you've been following the news, you'll know that Australia is currently in the midst of one of the worst bushfire seasons in history.

Saeed Khan / Getty Images

The fires have ravaged local communities and towns, destroying millions of hectares of bush, forest and parkland, and displaced hundreds of Australians from their homes.

Sam Mooy / Getty Images

And while there has been blanket coverage of recovery efforts, less focus has been placed on the plight of Indigenous Australians, and the trauma they endured while watching their ancestral lands burn.

Sam Mooy / Getty Images

While nothing can be done to reverse the damage, here are a couple ways you can support and give back to affected First Nation communities.

1. Donate to a charity or fundraiser that has been developed with direct consultation from Indigenous Elders.

Glenn Hunt / Getty Images

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your money is actually being used to supplement the causes most important to the Indigenous community.

The "Get Behind Mogo Aboriginal Community & Rangers" fundraiser does exactly this. It's raising funds for the town of Mogo — specifically the Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council — which plays an important role for the local Yuin community. The money will then be used to rebuild community houses and services, provide trauma and mental health support for families and elders and support the rangers in restoring the lands for future fire protection.

There is also the "Fire Relief Fund For First Nations Communities". The fundraiser was organised by Neil Morris, a Yorta Yorta man, and has been in direct consultation with Indigenous people across NSW. Funds raised will aid in a variety of areas, from helping with temporary location costs to helping fund emergency relief.

Another important fundraiser is "First Nations Fire Knowledge Land Lore". This one focuses on building a coalition of First Nations Peoples who have knowledge of traditional land lore and care practices. This coalition can then be accessed by the public, community and RFS to help lead a prevention plan against climate change and future bushfire seasons.

2. Offer your home up to bushfire victims through initiatives like "Find A Bed".

Here's a story for you. We need a medium-term place for a 104 year old lady (and her carer) whose house in North Rosedale has completely burnt down with all her possessions in it except a bag of clothes and her little dog. We need an accessible place (esp. bathroom) in Moruya!

A lot of people who have been displaced from their homes by the bushfires belong to Indigenous communities. If you're able to, Find A Bed is great way to help those in need, by offering up a temporary home for those trying to piece together their lives.

3. Keep up to date with local response pages on social media, such as the South Coast Fires Indigenous Response.

Facebook: SthCoastFIR

Pages like these are so valuable — they're an effective way to reach out to communities and can keep people in loop about what exactly is needed. For example, recently there was a callout for non-perishable items and drivers on the South Coast Fires Indigenous Response page to help with the delivery of much-needed supplies to those affected by the NSW South Coast fires.

4. And lend assistance — whether that be non-perishable items, muscle, time, anything — whenever you can.

William West / Getty Images

These local callouts are often run by volunteers who work tirelessly, day and night, to get the job done. Even if you're only able to lend an hour of your time, or donate a couple of things, it really does go a long way to helping.

5. Assist SEED, Australia's first Indigenous youth climate network, through donations or by volunteering.

Seed / @SleazyC_ / Via Twitter: @SleazyC_

Alongside the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the aim of SEED is to "educate, inspire and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island young people to lead climate campaigns and projects across the country".

The best way to support their campaigns is either by donating, volunteering (where applicable) or by signing the Indigenous Youth Declaration For Climate Change.

6. Shop at local Indigenous businesses, especially those who are giving profits back to fundraisers.

7. And lastly, read up on the work of Indigenous publications and writers to understand what they are going through.

IndigenousX / Shaun Hooper / Via indigenousx.com.au

Check out IndigenousX or NITV for some fantastic articles written by First Nations Peoples. There's also a great tweet that lists a bunch of Indigenous writers to follow, as well as this article written for The Guardian that deals with grief, the bushfires and being an Indigenous person.

This is definitely not a complete list of ways to help affected Indigenous communities, so please leave any other helpful suggestions in the comments below.

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