Amil Pedro of the Gila River Indian Community near Phoenix conducted demonstrations on the art of making bows, arrows and chipped stone as part of a special June program at Montezuma Well.
The Cahuilla and Quechan artist worked for years as a tracker for the search and rescue unit of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. After retirement, he returned to his first love – art and teaching young students the importance of traditional crafts and Native language preservation. His class instruction on the Gila River and Quechan Reservations is fashioned to reintroduce the language through art projects.
Students at Montezuma Well, a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument, were presented with a hands-on opportunity to create their own stone projectile points through careful shaping of the tool and meticulous retouching of the edges.
“See how much work it was to get dinner? They weren’t able to go to a grocery store each day and they had to work together as a community,” explained Pedro. “You put all this time and effort into making your tools, you are going to take care of them, aren’t you?”
Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments in central Arizona have offered several programs this year connecting visitors with cultural life ways of the past. Special Junior Ranger Camps were held at Montezuma Well with hands-on activities, games and demonstrations developed through the expertise of the park’s summer Teacher-Ranger-Teachers, rangers and park archeologists.