Many Aboriginal people believe that serious illness and death are caused by spirits or by people practicing Sorcery. All around Australia, Aboriginal people have their own healers in their communities. When someone is ill, traditional healers work with the spirit of the person to heal them.

The names for these healers can vary depending on the community---clever, ngangkari, manbarn, witchdoctors and Nyikina people call them jalngangoorroo- but whatever their name they continue to work with the spirits of sick people. These healers have special tools, such as amulets, chants, songs and their hair ropes to help them with their work. The way healers work can be very different, depending on the individual's techniques and the community they work in.

The ability to heal is something a person might be born with, or it might be passed from one generation to the next, or it could come to the person in a dream or as a result of an illness.


Smoking is a practice in which special leaves are placed over the coals of a fire until they create a smoke. This smoke is then used for healing, strengthening or cleansing. At camps we smoke the ground, it chases the bad spirits away, keep you safe. You can use it to hunt mosquitoes away, but also to give you that strength to sleep there, or give you that feeling that you are at home with that smoke. Even a blanket or your swag can be smoked. We do that with our fishing line when we go fishing, we smoke it.


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