Authors: Andy Tjilari & Rupert Peter, NT
Event: 2004 TheMHS Conference
Subject: indigenous, aboriginal, traditional healers, The Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation, northern territory
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Anangu - aboriginal people - call our own healers 'ngangkari'. We have had ngangkari in our culture for untold ages, from when we were living in the bush, from before houses and white flour and sugar. Ngangkari come from the deep past. They are exactly like doctors. They are equal with doctors in their effectiveness for Anangu people. The Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation supports the work of ngangkari. At Women's Council we want to see the valuable skills of ngangkari remain of value into the future. We want to see ngangkari still working right into the next century. We don't want to lose our own healers or see their skills disappear. They are precious to us. Ngangkari are very effective because they carry strong powers within themselves to eradicate emotional and painful problems. We knew that it would be beneficial to employ ngangkari. But it was hard because so few non-Aboriginal people understand what ngangkari are and what they do. At last we were successful in 1997 and, as of 2000, we have our own two ngangkari on staff. Doctors and sisters might wonder why Anangu keep asking for ngangkari help when they can access good health clinics these days and they can easily get a quick needle or a tablet? It is because ngangkari get straight to the problem and give immediate healing. Tablets can't heal the spirit. Ngangkari can. Ngangkari can see right into the spirit and the mind. Ngangkari see right inside the kurunpa -the spirit-and get straight to the heart of the matter. What is kurunpa? There is kurunpa inside you and inside me. It lives inside our bodies giving us life.