August 21, 2013 by genelup
Leon Roe making arrows, a tradition he learned from his grandfather. Also, the marker where people can stand in four states at the same time.
Leon Roe, a Navajo Indian, is a welder by trade. That’s how he makes a living. However, he refuses to let go of his heritage — his grandfather chipped away at various stones including agate and obsidian to make arrowheads. Then he attached them to arrows made of pine rods and various feathers from such birds as turkeys and pheasants. Roe learned arrow-making from his grandfather.
Sometimes Roe drives an hour one way to sell his arrows in one of the shops at Four Corners, a Navajo Tribal Monument area where four states – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado – join together. People line up with cameras near a round marker to stand, sit or lay down on all four states at the same time.
While this is going on, Roe chips away at stones making arrowheads, glues feathers on ends of arrows and paints colorful stripes around the arrow rods. Arrow making has taken a toll on him. Roe has developed carpal tunnel in one of his arms from hours of tightly holding stones in one hand and chipping away with the other.
His arrows sell from $30 to $50. He uses various colors of paint to put stripes on the arrows. He explains: Black equals Strength; blue equals Vision; green equals Success and red equals Challenge. Various other shapes of lines indicate Speed and Strength.
At Four Corners, there are about three dozen stalls situated in four states where Navajo artists and craftsmen sell their wares from jewelry and t-shirts to arrows and pottery. You have to get here early, Roe said. It’s first come, first serve. You get to pick which stall you want. Sometimes, he said, if all the stalls are filled he waits around until someone leaves so he can set up his small business making arrows.