Waltja Directors are concerned that the knowledge about smoking ceremonies and related practices for keeping mothers and babies strong is being lost in some communities, because the ceremonies and practices are not taking place and senior women who have this knowledge have passed away. Concern about this has increased with the risk of spread of COVID. Waltja members in some communities have revived and maintained their baby smoking ceremonies and have asked Waltja to help them record this knowledge for future generations.
Enid Gallagher from Yuendumu helped Waltja to get funding from CAGES Foundation to help with these ceremonies.
“Baby Smoking has been a tradition for a long time that keeps mothers and babies strong. Elders can teach young mothers the procedure of smoking babies. It is important to keep smoking babies because as the process is happening other woman and young mothers are also learning, so they can teach and encourage women in the future.
It doesn’t happen in one language group, it happens in all language groups, because it’s been happening before, for many generations. At Waltja we want to help others as well with this baby smoking.”