Growing up playing and shooting an Aw-Thum bow (circa 1926) was a favorite pastime for Royce Manuel who was told by his father “make your own arrows and don’t get the string wet.” The bow string made from horse intestines were forever changed when the sprinkles of rain came. Manuel’s grandfather shared stories while demonstrating the most effective way of holding an arrow to meet its mark. With many men sharing their words of wisdom; Royce Manuel followed their teachings while eventually developing his own method that remained true to his father’s bow.
Royce Manuel (Akimel O’odham) best describes his work through the “Tools of Yesterday” using plant fiber, primitive bows & arrows, knapping stone, and making agave plant cordage. As a tribal and cultural educator and member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Royce specializes in the revival and teaching of artistic traditions and indigenous knowledge. Debbie Nez-Manuel (Diné), has a Masters in Social Work, Arizona State University and is experienced in both non-profit and tribal communities. Debbie’s traditional and bi-cultural lifestyles, provides valuable insight and practices in both urban and tribal community settings while preserving, strengthening, and renewing cultural identity.