My name is Stefan Smith and I am a proud Arrernte man from Ltyentye Apurte and one of the founders of the Ltyentye Apurte Traditional Craft Centre. In English, Ltyentye Apurte sounds like Ginger Porter. Our community is also known as Santa Teresa. It’s 80kms southeast of Alice Springs.
Here is a piece of my story.
I was born in Alice Springs and I grew up my whole life in Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte). I remember when I was a kid my Grandfather and uncles making these tools. They’re gone now but we still have what they taught us in our head. One of things they used to do was get the old people to go out bush with the school boys to teach them. (I’ve still got a couple old photos from then!)
More recently, no one was making tools anymore around here so we decided to start a little program and get all the fellas who wanted to get involved with it and just start doing our traditional tool making. There’s 6 of us working. Two of my uncles, two nephews and my younger brother, Shannon. It’s just like a family business.
Our families and the community think it’s great that we started the program and particularly that we have started teaching the young ones again, so they can carry on what we do and they can know what we were using traditionally. Hopefully when they get older they can maybe carry on making and passing on this traditional knowledge.
The old people know what we’re doing and they’re pretty proud of us. And they still tell us what trees should be used. My grandma tells me what kind of trees to use for coolamons.
One day I’d really like to see us going into the cities and maybe seeing our work in galleries and museums.
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.