One not-to-be-missed Copper Cities attraction is the San Carlos Apache Culture Center, located on the north side of Highway 70 at milepost 272. A compact, well-planned facility, it seems larger than its floor plan.
The museum is filled with fascinating exhibits and a shop featuring items by local artists and craftsmen, such as camp dresses and men’s ribbon shirts, paintings, statues, moccasins and jewelry. New items include peridot bracelets and earrings from nearby Peridot Mesa, one of the few places in the world you can find the mineral.
Lorraine Edwards Hunter, who died in February at the age of 79, made baskets since her father Norton Edward, Sr. taught her the craft as a little girl. She passed the skill on to her daughter Caroline Hunter and her sisters. Making a basket can take as much as a month, as the weaver needs to gather, split and condition the cottonwood and willow stems he or she needs to use. Devil’s Claw is particularly hard to
come by, since it grows mostly in higher elevations in river beds. Family members look for it as they travel to areas like White River or Seneca near the Salt River Canyon.
Museum Director Marlowe Cassadore is continually developing the facility. He has been awarded a grant that will pay for an assessment of the building and its interior to prove it is suitable to house the many Apache artifacts that are now held in various museums nationwide. A HUD application is also in the works which would be partly used to expand the museum and to construct another building on the site, to provide an office for the Apache Language Preservation agency.
Cassadore and his assistants are not just academics: They have lived what is written in scholarly articles and books all of their lives. Knowledgeable people are always on hand to add to your experience. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday -Friday and often on Saturdays. For further information, call 928-475-2894.