Image: Rhett Hammerton

For thousands of years the ngangkari have nurtured the physical, emotional, and social well-being of their people. These traditional healers are esteemed for their unique ability to protect and heal both individuals and communities from harm.

Additionally, the ngangkari provide advice to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people outside their communities, using their extensive knowledge of culture and family.

Our program employs male and female ngangkari to work in communities in the region, as well as hospitals, nursing homes, gaols, hostels, and health services in regional centres.

The ngangkari say western and Anangu practitioners have different but equally valuable skills and knowledge, and both are needed to address the significant problems Anangu face.

They believe that collaboration and mutual respect between western health services and ngangkari lead to the best outcomes for Anangu.

Uti Kulintjaku project

The Uti Kulintjaku initiative is an Anangu-led social innovation for systems change that strengthens Anangu wellbeing. Uti Kulintjaku works at the interface of knowledge systems and languages to better understand mental health and wellbeing and develops resources to promote this shared bi-cultural understanding more broadly.

In Pitjantjatjara, Uti Kulintjaku means ‘to think and understand clearly’.

People in the NPY region face many challenges when it comes to accessing effective health services. Remoteness, literacy, and language and cultural differences are often barriers to people receiving the help that they need.

Our Uti Kulintjaku project brings together ngangkari, senior Anangu, interpreters, and mental health practitioners in workshops to strengthen communication between Anangu and non-Aboriginal health professionals.

The team has produced a range of resources to improve the emotional vocabulary of Anangu children and explain how trauma can affect their behaviour.

The Uti Kulintjaku project helps Anangu address mental health and related issues using their own language and culture, and their knowledge of western mental health.

It also strengthens the capacity of local mental health professionals to engage with and communicate more effectively with Anangu, to ‘see through their eyes’.


Words for feelings

Posters, magnets, and flashcards to help improve mental health literacy. Learn more.

Kulila! app

Listen up! This is our award-winning Pitjantjatjara language app. Learn more.

Tjulpu and Walpa

A story that shows how the care we give a child shapes their behaviour. Learn more.

Facebook page

Follow the NPY Women’s Council – Ngangkari Program Facebook page to keep in touch with what we’ve been up to.