The world lost a beloved brother yesterday with the passing of a very special member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Director of the Tribe’s Culture Center. He gave so much to so many, and will be greatly missed.
He was recognized in 2011 by the state of Arizona with the prestigious Arizona Indian Living Treasure Award. His work included making and playing the Apache flute and violin, coiled basketweaving, bows and arrows, storytelling, moccasins, campdress, ceremonial buckskin dress and skirt, pottery, beadword, ceremonial drum, carving traditional pieces, creating writing and setting up ceremonial wickiups.
He was one of the warm, wise people who met us at Oak Flat on the last day of our walk. He had made a pair of moccasins for Emma and I, the most beautiful pair of shoes we will ever have. He presented this precious gift to us, and taught us how to wear them. I don’t know what the temperature was that August day, but we felt cool and comfortable once we took off our hot walking boots and wriggled into the soft new mocs. Receiving this gift was one of the great honors of my life, and I will never forget him.
In addition to his wisdom (which had great depth, steeped in Apache Tradition and recognized with a Master of Fine Arts degree) he had a rare and enormous sense of humor and wit. Prayers for this beautiful man and his family. He truly was a treasure among men.
We honor the Apache culture which teaches us that out of respect, we do not yet mention his name.