The Angkwerre-Iweme project at Akeyulerre was developed to assist Elders and healers to maintain and practice Arrernte traditional healing within their community. Arrernte healing is extremely important for many people in Central Australia. There are strong knowledge systems that comprise of an interconnected model of health care for Arrernte people. Healing is linked with the land through bush medicines, healing songs, smoking and Angangkere (healers).
The project supported healers to come together and keep strong in their work. Elders and Angangkere are proud of their skills and work and the passing on of knowledge to the next generation is held in high regard. This includes trips on country, collecting and making bush medicines, as well as helping to connect with a wide range of health and cultural services including counterparts in other regions. The project worked to build a greater understanding, respect and acknowledgement of traditional healing.
What did the project involve?
The project was run by a strong group of Elders, healers, traditional owners and younger women. Everyone worked together sharing and respecting each other’s respective roles.
Alongside the regular bush trips and healing activities with the Arrernte families and community there were many achievements. These include:
- Completing a huge collaborative painting and short film to articulate the Arrernte healing story
- We were invited and hosted by Bruny Island Indigenous groups to present and share at the Nyari Niarra Festival
- Opening the new Emergency Department at Alice Springs Hospital with a smoking ceremony
- Taking 25 Arrernte Angangkere to the Kimberly region to meet with healing organisations and healers from the area, as part of an exchange of knowledge
- Building relationships with other health organisations in the Alice Springs region which helps to increase understanding of the value of traditional healing for Indigenous people in the area
- Improving access to bush medicines and healers within the community
- Working with the Healing Foundation and Baker IDI to develop and implement an evaluation process using an Arrernte framework
Akeyulerre encourages the sharing of knowledge through supporting the practice and knowledge systems of Arrernte healing. Akeyulerre Healing Centre was developed in 2000 by Arrernte elders as a place they could come to share and practice their culture and healing in the Alice Springs region. The Elders hold a fundamental role in the organisation and direct all operations. There is a strong team who work at the centre sharing their broad range of skills. The younger generations come to the centre to learn and share.
More news from Akeyulerre
In 2014 Akeyulerre launched their book Ingkenteme. The Ingkenteme project supports Arrernte children and young people to learn about their culture from Elders on their own country. Ingkenteme is an Arrernte word meaning ‘following in the footsteps’. For a copy of Ingkenteme either visit Akeyulerre in Alice Springs, phone 08 8952 2339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The journey of Akeyulerre is an inspiring one. For more information about Akeyulerre see their website here.
© All images belong to Akeyulerre Inc.