Book Review: Traditional healers of Central Australia: Ngangkari

Hunter, Ernest (2013) Book Review: Traditional healers of Central Australia: Ngangkari. Australasian Psychiatry, 21 (4). pp. 406-407.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


[Extract]: This is not the first account of the work of Aboriginal traditional healers. The original edition of A.P. Elkin's Aboriginal men of high degree 1 appeared in 1945 and psychiatrist John Cawte wrote extensively and respectfully. Neither is it the first publication from these remarkable men and women. Following a meeting of ngangkaṟi in Alice Springs in 2000, the NPY Women's Council translated and transcribed their stories in Ngangkaṟi work - An–angu way 4 to encourage understanding and collaboration across cultures. As Yanyi Bandicha, Chairperson of the NPY Women's Council explains in relation to this second book, Rupert Peter's contribution was critical as he "saw these books as a way of increasing understanding of ngangkaṟi to improve health outcomes for An–angu, whilst maintaining An–angu authority on which issues were talked about, how and by whom" (p. 265).

Helen Milroy (also a recipient of the Mark Sheldon Award) notes in the introduction that: "As our understanding of traditional methods increases, it is easy to see some of the overlaps with more recent developments in mental health care" (p. 12). This book is a major contribution to that understanding, not only as it gives voice to ngangkaṟi, but also because it provides a context to their discussions of continuity and change. Interspersed throughout are photographs dating from the 1940s to the present. On my desk as I write is a volume of Baldwin Spencer's photographs from central Australia at the beginning of the last century. Taken together, these two works suggest how little changed in the first half of that century by comparison with the scale of change since.

Item ID: 32621
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
ISSN: 1440-1665
Date Deposited: 27 May 2014 03:47
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page