On Country Cultural Experience Weekend on Luritja Country

Learning protocols to identify and dig for Maku (Witchetty Grub)

Flinders NT Regional Training Hub engaged with JL’s Outback Experience to deliver two On Country Cultural Experience programs in Central Australia during May and September 2021.

Medical students, junior doctors, allied health practitioners and GP registrars were among the attendees working or proposing to work in remote communities in Central Australia. They rely on learning cultural protocols and traditions to have more culturally appropriate interactions with patients and their families.

The groups are welcomed to Country along with a Smoking Ceremony by Luritja Elder, John Liddle. Trip 2 saw Elders from nearby Angus Downs Homeland lead the group by 4WD vehicles and by foot to an area of Mulga Bush. Here, under the guidance of Elders, our young doctors learned to identify branches and dig for Maku (witchetty grub) and Tjalas (ant-hills) for honey ants. Their efforts yielded a great rare bounty of both.

Visit to a waterhole of cultural importance forming part of the Songline of the Seven Sisters, preparing roo tail as demonstrated by Elders, and joining families from neighbouring communities in a big dinner around a firepit, was a great way to understand the life, culture, traditions of families in remote communities. It also provided a safe space to learn protocols of communication – a very valuable skill for a remote medical practitioner.

The experience equips practitioners to commence or continue a career in rural and remote Indigenous health with confidence. It demonstrates culturally safe practices and an understanding of the contextualised skills required to practice in the community in which they train and work.

For more information please contact fnt.rth@flinders.edu.au

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