Reconciliation SA is always proud to advocate for First Nations professionals, especially in the education and advocacy sectors. But we are not the only ones willing to support such practitioners; schools and many communities are more willing than ever to engage with First Nations storytellers, artists, and educators and businesses. Like many industries, the requirements of social distancing has hit these industries and communities hard. Leaving many First Nations people facing a future of uncertainty.
Christopher Burthurmarr Crebbin, a Wanyi and Garawa man, who’s an educator, artist, radio producer, and sole trader spoke with Reconciliation SA about the issues being faced today, in regards to social distancing, educating, and losing business opportunities.
When speaking about the effects this on him as an educator, Crebbin says “this affects me on a couple of levels, especially psychologically, because when I’m teaching, I am very hands-on. I have all these habits built into my life from being a people person and all of a sudden, I have to keep a distance”.
But Crebbin is aware of the associated dangers of being in close proximity of my students, “my partner works in healthcare, so I am very aware and don’t want to put anyone in danger. In my business model, I deal with 180 kids a week and I teach them to dance, draw, paint, become storytellers and I want to be there with them to do that, but I need to protect them, I need to protect the people around me. So, I decided this was going to be my last week working with kids.”
Crebbin was hoping he would not have to isolate himself because of his own protective instincts, but that was not the case, “I was hoping the government would step in and say “No, this is the way forward, but as a parent myself, it’s my job to bring up my kids, nobody else’s, and I don’t feel good about being used as a babysitter.”
As a sole trader, Crebbin says “it’s a hard thing, we can’t always save money so when it comes to the job, I have given up wages next week. It always takes a couple of weeks to get paid, so I know in a couple of weeks there will be a shortfall of money when it’s time to pay bills.”
Crebbin is also disappointed in the communication that he has seen from the country’s leaders “It’s something that has been overlooked, by me not having enough information as a sub-contractor, I have worried, more than maybe I needed to. So, I got asked to teach again next week, even though people should know better, but I said no, I said yes to one job, painting a mural. I never got say down in a room and told here’s a box of gloves, here’s a mask.”
“But I’m feeling like I want to try and look at the other side of the coin” exclaims Crebbin, trying to stay positive, “and use this time to better my practice. Try and make sure my paperwork is in order, do some painting, do some creating. I can read, I can write and create.”
Crebbin’s attitude is a great one to have, be aware, but don’t panic, and spend your newfound time wisely. He also implores everyone whose been working hard to
“take a deep breath while you can, have some time for yourself, for your family and reset and just remember, the hard times make you stronger.”