6A Mary Therese Mulladad
Mary Therese Mulladad works as a Ngangkere (traditional healer) in Ltyentye Apurte in Eastern Arrernte country, where she grew up. Ltyentye Apurte is a sacred rainmaking site, 80 kilometres south east of Alice Springs. It is also the site of the Santa Teresa mission, which was built in 1953. The ladies gather at the local centre to make paintings on silks, trinkets and ceramic crosses. The painting connects them in cultural ways to the land.

Mary uses her hands to tell her where healing is needed for patients. She tells me her skills come from the land and her father passed on the knowledge to her.

Mary performs smoking ceremonies at the traditional healing centre using local bush medicine. Houses are also smoked when loved ones are lost to make the spirit rest in peace.

If a little baby is sleeping and a loud noise happens nearby, the baby’s spirit might hide and make the baby sick”, she tells me. Mary can see if the baby has no spirit and put the spirit back into the body to make the baby well again.