Although ngangkari have been working and healing people successfully for tens of thousands of years its only in recent times that Australian hospitals, prisons and health clinics are slowly engaging ngangkari to help provide a more holistic and culturally appropriate healing space for their patients. Latest research shows that cultural inclusion and the use of ngangkari are improving health outcomes for thousands of Aboriginal patients in Australia each year. So why isn’t it happening more?
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Many local mob in Central Australia and outlying desert communities still rely heavily on ngangkari to heal them. Troy, a ngangkari from Santa Teresa near Alice Springs, explains to me that Ngangkari do not get paid for their community work. It’s their duty and is handed down by senior Ngangkari, who they are mostly related to by bloodline.
Troy also explains no one can simply announces themselves as a ngangkari; the special gift and way of knowing is ‘seen’ in you by ngangkari elders and direct family members. Training begins only when you are ready to absorb the profound nature of your intuitive gift. An older ngangkari will then take you under their wing. Troy received his nangkar and training from his Grandad.
Ngangkari’s ability to travel in the quantum field and use their intuition to heal others might seem like hocus-pocus to many westerners but traditional healers from various Indigenous cultures around the world have been using their intuition and navigating the stars and the quantum field for many thousands of years. For example Shipibo healers from the Amazon, the onanya, work directly with energy: identifying where there are blockages. Similar to ngangkari, the onanya diagnose dense energies that are trapped in the system and cleanse and purify the body of these energies and sicknesses.
In stark contrast modern medicine’s scepticism about the intrinsic relationship between someone’s spirit (utnunge or kurunpa) and their mind and body has created a reliance on prescription medication and subsequent pharmaceutical solutions. There is it seems a pill or lotion for everything.
Troy acknowledges modern science has its place. For example diabetes, in it’s later stages, is not something they can ‘heal’ because when the kidneys are damaged the patient requires special medication. But they can and do work on associated issues that a renal patient might have.
From a ngangkari-patient perspective the placebo affect doesn’t come in the form of a sugar pill. It comes instead from the patients deep belief that their culture; embodied most powerfully by the ngangkari, can and does cure chronic illness and extreme discomfort and has done for many thousands of years. Medicine’s reluctance to fully embrace the ngankari’s spiritual healing modality is no doubt reflected in Australia’s broader historical denial and ongoing laxidasical attitude towards First Nation’s densely rich and profound cultural gifts, which it seems, is forever waiting in Australia’s wings.
Story and Videos by Tom Hearn (C) BushTV
Tom Hearn is an Australian writer and doco maker and is the co-founder of BushTV Enterprises with Ernie Dingo.
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Delve deeper with this fasinating Ngangkari book published by the NPY Women’s Council