I’m Glen Smith. I’m 24. I was born in Alice and grew up here in Ltyentye Apurte, Santa Teresa all my life.
The Traditional Craft Centre was started by my uncles. I was working at the clinic as a trainee nurse, then I started coming here checking out these fellas, seeing what they’d been up to lately. It looked really interesting. Woodworking, using tools that I hadn’t used before. I wasn’t good at using machines or woodworking. I’d never done it. Then I came here, and the fellas told me how to use the machines. I thought it was hard.
Coming to TCC feels good! It’s my first time ever working with my family. Because I’ve been away working. Working in Alice for 2 years, and then I’ve come back here and was working for 3 or 4 years before I was with these fellas. I thought that the clinic job was hard for me, somehow not comfortable. But now, working with these guys I feel comfortable. Especially these guys, a small family group. It feels really good working with these fellas. Strengthened my relationship with them.
My friends are surprised that I’m working here with TCC, and my family they’re all proud of me and what I’m doing. Because they thought that I wasn’t good at doing aboriginal woodwork. They thought he’s not that kind of fella. But now they say, “Keep it up man! We see what you do and keep it up!”
When I’m making something all I think about is how did the aboriginal people make weapons without using machines? It’s very clever. Out of sharp rocks. And at the same time, I think, nowadays it takes us maybe 2 or 3 days but back in the day it must have taken like a month or 2. So it must have been important to choose the right wood to make the right tool for the job
I feel connected to my ancestors through the work. REALLY connected. Like, 100% connected. It has changed me a lot. I’d heard stories that my great, great grandfather used to make tools. It feels like I’m more proper aboriginal, in a way. Makes me feel like I’m one of them. Like one of the early people back in the days. Strong. Active. Active in my culture.
Thank you for supporting our local business. I am happy to know you now have a little bit of our culture with you. This helps us keep our culture alive and I am proud to be sharing it with others.