As an enrolled tribal member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Mr. Manuel is an individual who has long played an important role in perpetuating cultural knowledge within the tribal nation by service to the O’odham People. Mr. Manuel maintains the distinction of keeping the Calendar Stick. Today, he continues to record and initiate collaborative projects that will engage the O’odham sister tribes in creative strategies of integrating the Calendar Stick concepts into wellness, math, science and critical learning.
Through hands-on methodology, he has replicated fully functioning primitive bows with arrows from local desert materials that his ancestors would have used. He learned and refined his craftsmanship and skills to flint knap various types of stone. He creates flutes, experiments and refines the sound from cane reeds to create a Man’s traditional three-hole courting flute; and recently has worked hard to revitalize the Kiaha (Kiaho, Giho) Burden Basket.
Mr. Manuel’s work is shared not only within the realms of his own tribal people, but also with various governmental and state organizations who call upon him regularly to provide a variety of demonstrations, classes and events. During events, Mr. Manuel focuses on elements of the past, the importance of everyday tools and the principles of simpler times. Outside of his community, Mr. Manuel freely shares with the regional sister tribes and collaborates with curators such as the Heard Museum, Arizona State University and University of Arizona. He also supports various levels of education within the public schools such as Mesa Public School’s Native American Education Program. As a way to share more education, Mr. Manuel often provides educational demonstration at museums and Indian markets. As a result of his efforts, he is creating a network cultural educational experience for people of all walks of life.