Sunday, May 26, 2024

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HomeIssue 4Interpreter lives the Redtails way

Interpreter lives the Redtails way

p2239-Curtis-Haines-2 By ERWIN CHLANDA
Curtis Haines (pictured) is a reserved guy, a little shy even, but his English diction is clear and his vocabulary broad, although his first language is Anmatyerre.
He also speaks some Warlpiri.
This makes him highly qualified as an interpreter in the Alice Springs hospital.
He was born 34 years ago into a big family, around 100 people, he says, in the Ti Tree and Laramba areas, north of Alice Springs.
Today he is one of the still small but growing number of Indigenous people who have a mainstream job, 8am to 4.21pm in the public service, for example.
He is earning a good wage to care for his partner and their two boys, aged six and two, who live in an Alice suburb, not a town camp.
Curtis has had his job for three years now and has no intention of giving it up. He attributes his stable circumstances in no small measure to his long-term connection with Redtails – the Alice Springs group linking football with social progress.
Curtis says the group will be “huge for Central Australia”.
He says like many young Aboriginal men, he’s been tempted to embark on a life of grog and idleness.
Work in Ti Tree is scarce, although some of his mates work in building and maintaining houses.
It was Redtails that put him on the right path.
He says he has pledged his loyalty and support to the group which now has a membership of 85 young men and 35 young women, the Pinktails.
Although getting a little long in the tooth compared to most players, he still runs onto the field, mostly as a half forward, when the Redtails get a game.


  1. Curtis Haines has been a tremendous league footballer in Central Australia for a long, long time. But above his incredible attributes on the footy oval, the man is a great person.

  2. Acknowledging that this short story is as much about the positive influence of the Redtails as it is about the man, it seems worthy of a more in-depth sequel if Curtis is up for it.
    How has he actually got to where he is – e.g. what is his family and educational background and early adult life (teens, twenties? And what has made him choose against grog and idleness now and to have kids a lot later in life than many of his peers?
    Counter-culturally he is off his home country and in Alice (but not a town camp) at least five days a week while his mates (and extended family?) are still in TiTree – how does he and they feel about this?
    If he gets humbug by family for money or accommodation, how are these obligations (as they are seen) managed?
    I appreciate these are quite personal questions and it’s completely up to Curtis whether or not to share more, but doing so might give a lot more context to this positive but brief profile.


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