Betty Muffler was born in the remote bush area near Watarru near the border of South and Western Australia. Her parents passed away from sicknesses related to the Maralinga bombings in South Australia when she was a young girl, so she was cared for by her aunties and the missionaries at the Ernabella mission.
Betty's father and sisters were skilled Ngangkari (traditional healers) and they passed on their knowledge to Betty. Throughout her adult life, Betty famously traveled via donkey across the central desert extensively, providing support to Anangu with her Ngangkari practice. Betty continues to work for clinics on the lands and hospitals supportng doctors and Anangu with healings for her people.
Her paintings highlight her reverence for country, and the sacred sites that are relevant to her Ngangkari spirit. “I used to be travelling all the time by donkey, a long way from Watarru to Ernabella and staying with my aunties. My mama (father) and aunties were Ngangkari, they taught me how to heal people. Because I’ve got an eagles spirit I can stay at home here, and in my sleep I send my eagle spirit across the desert to look for sick people, then I land next to them and make them better. Ngangkari’s can see right through people to what sickness is inside, then we can heal them straight away.”.