Kulintja means listening, listening deeply. This is how NPYWC Chairwoman Margaret Smith and Tjulapi Carroll, members of the Uti Kulintjaku team at NPY Women’s Council explain it, speaking at the NT Writers Festival in Mparntwe/Alice Springs.
Kulintja means to hear, but it also means to take it in, by feeling and sensing, to come to an understanding. This kind of listening involves your whole being.
This sense of true or deep listening is foundational to their work with the Uti Kulintjaku project whose name means ‘clear thinking with an intention to understand’. For the past 10 years the Anangu women from the Uti Kulintjaku team have been working to understand the mental health needs of their families and communities. They develop ideas and language-based resources to support Anangu health and healing.
When we come together, the sense of knowing that, right to the depths of our being, we are wanting to help people, really drives us. So, we’re listening and feeling and thinking with our minds but also our souls, from the very root of our being. And that in those workshops when we’re bringing all of ourselves there and we talk, things come up and then we can reflect on them. And we do it with our hearts. We are looking to regain our joy of life if we’re depressed. We are looking, if those worries are really heavy on us, we want to be happy again. If you’ve got all those heavy thoughts and feelings, you are weakened, you’re down, you can’t rise up. We want to be able to regain strength through coming together, doing that work, and then having it benefit other people.