Ngangkari healers were considered the treasure of Aboriginal communities, and now their 60,000-year-old tradition has made its way to South Australia's Royal Adelaide Hospital and rural clinics. Eighteen registered Ngangkari healers set up the Anangu Ngangkari Tiutaky Aboriginal Corporation (ANTAC) more than seven years ago. Chief executive Francesca Panzironi heads a team visiting major hospitals and rural clinics in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
Aṉangu Ngangkaṟi Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (ANTAC) promotes health and wellbeing among Aṉangu people and their communities, and provides healing services and educational programs for local people—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—and whoever else requests them. Members of the corporation—of whom there are now 20—are all ngangkaṟi, accredited in accordance with Ngangkaṟiku Tjurkupa (customary law). The corporation is governed by five directors and the board always comprises at least two ngangkaṟi men and two ngangkaṟi women. As well as providing healing services, its mission is to sustain and strengthen ngangkaṟi skills—among its members but also among ngangkaṟi children as they grow and learn. ANTAC’s Aboriginal traditional healers work in hospitals, Aboriginal community controlled health centres, mental health units, prisons, rehabilitation and palliative care centres. As well as responding to local demand, members of the corporation also travel interstate to hold healing workshops in cities and regional centres. In the last few months, Dr Panzironi has travelled with ANTAC ngangkaṟi to many places in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. At each destination, ngangkaṟi have been in high demand, and in December 2016 the corporation won a Port Adelaide Enfield Council award for its contribution to the community.
Dr Panzironi envisions the inclusion of Aboriginal traditional medicine within the national health care system through a two-way health care model. Aboriginal traditional healers hold a body of knowledge and practice that qualify them as legitimate traditional health care practitioners who can work hand-in-hand with the mainstream health care professionals.