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Join Professor Sandra Eades, University of Melbourne, with ngangkari (traditional healers) and acclaimed artists Rene Kulitja and Pantjiti Lewis from the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council (NPYWC) for an in conversation event as part of The Art of Healing: Australian Indigenous Bush Medicine  exhibition programme.

The event will discuss the Anangu, the name for the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people of the country which crosses Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia borders, and the importance of ngangkari, meaning healer.

Anangu culture attributes many illnesses and emotional states to harmful elements in the Anangu spiritual world. Ngangkari have always been responsible for the health and well-being of Anangu. They are highly valued for their unique ability to protect and heal individuals and communities from this harm and their practice remains unchanged.

Today, Anangu believe that the best outcomes for health and well-being come from ngangkari working together with western medicine.

The talk will take place on the 8th floor of Bush House, with a reception in the Arcade and an opportunity to see The Art of Healing exhibition. 

There will also be a curator tour of the exhibition prior to the event at 17.00 with Dr Jacky Healy, Senior curator, Medical History Museum and Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum, University of Melbourne. No booking required for the tour. 

About the speakers

Professor Sandra Eades is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, Western Australia, and Associate Dean (Indigenous), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Over the past decade she has made substantial contributions to the area of Aboriginal health and has provided leadership at a national level. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues acknowledge Professor Eades as a leader and role model in Indigenous health research.

Rene Kulitja was born in Pukatja and grew up in the APY Lands in the far north west of South Australia. She is well known as an artist and in 2015 she represented Tjanpi Desert Weavers in the Venice Biennale. She is a founding director of Walkatjara Arts at Uluru and chairperson of Maruku Arts Governing Committee. Rene is a traditional owner for Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, handed back to traditional owners in 1985, and sits on the Board of Management. She is a director of NPY Women’s Council and a member of the Uti Kulintjaku team

Pantjiti Imitjala Lewis grew up in Pukatja community. She is an acclaimed artist, singer and dancer and a member of the NPYWC Uti Kulintjaku team. She is a ngangkari and a long term health worker at Nganampa Health clinic at Pukatja community in the APY Lands. Pantjiti has extensive practical knowledge and experience working with both traditional and mainstream medicine. Pantjiti is also a traditional owner of Uluru and a director of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management.

NPYWC Ngangkari Program is a dynamic group of ngangkari who are also highly respected artists, teachers, and health workers. As well as applying their traditional skills as healers in their communities, they provide advice to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people outside their communities.

NPY Women’s Council (NPYWC) is a service delivery, advocacy and support organisation created by Anangu women from the 28 remote communities in the tristate border region of NT, SA and WA. NPYWC delivers a range of services and programs working with Anangu to improve their health, wellbeing and safety as well as supporting ongoing cultural practice.     

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