Video Transcript

NPY Womens Council Ngangkari - program and meditation

Speaker 2 (00:37)

NPY Women's Council was established in 1980. It was set up by Anangu women who really wanted to have a voice and felt like they didn't have a voice at that stage, so from there it's just continued to grow. We have 12 directors who are selected from the communities in our region, and it's a large region. It's 28 member communities in a 350,000 square kilometre area South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory.

Speaker 3 (01:08)

I'm Rene Kulitja. I was born in 1958 at Ernabella. The Women's Council is for all Anangu women. We are doing many different things - programs for our children, for our youth.

Always thinking about how they can be well.

Speaker 4 (01:35)

My ame's Alison Tjulapi Carroll and I'm from Ernabella. A generation of women who are no longer with us, they started it.

They did so much good, important things that are continued by NPY today.

I think about all the good things I have learnt from the senior women that came before us, and feel that now that all those that taught us have passed away, and we are here,

It is our responsibility in turn, Nuynmiti, Rene, all of us, the generation who come after them, in turn to ensure that all the things they taught us about how to be strong, how to speak up strongly and to look after our families are carried on.

(2:41) The Women’s Council does many different things, there are many different arms, and one of many is the Ngangkari Traditional Healing Program.


Speaker 2 (02:57)

Uti Kulintjaku is a Pitjantjatjara phrase that means to think and understand clearly. The Uti Kulintjaku project was set up in 2012 as part of the Ngangkari Program. We worked together with Ngangkari to develop it from the inside, that’s how Uti Kulintjaku started.


Speaker 1 (03:16)

Uti Kulinjaku is about building that two-way understanding between non-Indigenous health professionals and local Aboriginal people who are accessing health services.

We were wanting to get Ngangkari, so Traditional Healers, sitting down in the same room alongside western health practitioners. And from that, we started to have these workshops. And what we found was that there's a lot of barriers to Aboriginal people accessing health. Either not having the language to ask for the help that you need, or when you go to seek help, the information that's provided to you is not always in a language that you can understand clearly.

It's really important to be making these resources in language, and it's not just about the actual words, it's about the cultural context that we provide when we have senior people sharing their knowledge through their first language. We're really lucky in this region that language and culture is still so strong. It's really, really important to hold onto that language around how people feel and how they make sense of what they feel and what they think. And so what we're trying to do here is find out from Aboriginal people in this region what being healthy and happy  means to them and how to stay strong.


Speaker 2 (04:34)

We're drawing on really ancient practices and old stories to inform the way that we address today's problems.


Speaker 3 (04:43)

My name’s Nyunmiti Burton. I was born in Alice Springs in 1960. A long time ago, it is said, a man and two women lived. This is a traditional story they always told in the old days. So this man went off hunting and was following an animal


when he went into its hollow long and became stuck.

He says “Leave, I’ll stay here”, basically “I’m OK, leave me alone.”


He is really stuck and can’t get out. The two women are crying.  Oh yes, this man is really trapped inside the log. Really feeling crushed and under pressure.


And so many of our families and feeling the same way today. Everyone is feeling trapped and pressured.

We can learn about this, by understanding the story of the man and the two women because so many people are worried and feeling stressed, so many are on dialysis, others are in jail, others in hospital for example.


And of course, in that story it was the Ngangkari who broke open the log to free the man.

Speaker 2
In the past, there were only traditional doctors, and they did their healing work in the bush. More recently health work is done in two ways. Today the traditional healers still work outside in the bust but also in the hospitals where the western doctors do their work with sick people.

They do their work together now, the old and the new doctors.

Speaker 4

Because of the Uti Kilintjaku, the men and women are together now, and we have the same end in mind. Our aim is help those, feeling trapped like this, to get rid of that log. We are putting a lot of energy and care into making many good things to help. We are doing good things for our children, for our communities, for our families.


Together we have gone from strength to strength. The men have put their stories into the work. We, all the women are putting their stories in we have develop this together.

Speaker 1:
Take a deep breath.

We were unfamiliar with meditation at the start.  As we learnt about it and after we made the meditations, we became stronger and our thinking was becoming calmer and clearer and we were feeling less stressed.


So we decided to work with Smiling Mind to create meditations that had a context that was approachable to Aboriginal people in this region.

The Uti Kulintjaku team are making these meditations for our younger people…to be able to calm their own thoughts.

As you know English can be really difficult and hard to understand.

Speaker 4


So that’s why we have made them in our own languages. In Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara so that it is clearly understood.

And Anangu, all our families listen and understand properly.

Speaker 3


Having done this work we are getting stronger. The meditations that we have made have been used in three schools in the APY Lands, and the kids have listened to them, the school kids, and it’s made them really happy. They’re really pleased with them.

Speaker 3

Those previous generations of women have given us so much and we hold that knowledge. Now it is our turn to share with the next generation of women – talk with them about how to be strong,

Show them how to speak up strongly, teach them how to be strong in the lore, all those good thing they gave us. Then they in turn will be able to teach their children, and they in turn will be able to carry it on to give to their children. 

Illustration of two people in a hot air balloon

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