Louis David Valenzuela

Louis David Valenzuela
Traditional Yoeme Cottonwood Mask Maker

“Over time, carving has grown
more into me and who I
have to be for my culture.”

Cultural Community: yOEME/yAQUI
Location: Tucson, AZ

Louis David Valenzuela

Louis David Valenzuela is one of the last traditional Yoeme cottonwood mask makers in Southern Arizona from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Valenzuela began practicing his traditional art forms in 1974, such as carving and sculpting, which tell his culture. He learned his art form from traditional Pascola mask makers from New and Old Pascua in Tucson, Arizona.

His masks represent significant cultural animals, such as monkeys, goats, and roosters. He also creates masks for the Sacred Pascola Dances, which are performed annually during the Pascua Yaqui Lent ceremony.

Valenzuela continues to mentor younger generations to continue the tradition, gives workshops, and teaches summer programs, as well as adult programs. He also enjoys teaching non-natives about his culture because it represents real native culture, rather than what is being shown in the media today. Currently, he is working with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as an Elder Instructor for culture and art.

Valenzuela has taught and exhibited his work throughout Arizona. He is a 2018 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award. Recently, Valenzuela was invited and attended the 2023 Smithsonian Museum Folklife Festival!

Check out this inspirational conversation with Louis David Valenzuela, The Wood is Like Magic, at the Borderlore.

Homer Marks JR. Hopi/Tohono O'odham Traditional Wood Carver

Homer Marks Jr.

Homer Marks Jr.
Traditional Wood Carver

“Each piece of cottonwood has an art form in it.
Anytime I start carving, working within the wood, it
will come out and show itself, sometimes it comes out
quick and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want.”

Cultural Community: Hopi/Tohono O’odham
Location: Sells, AZ
Homer Marks Jr Hopi/Tohono O'odham Traditional Wood Carver

Homer Marks Jr.

Greetings! My name is Homer Marks Jr. I am a carver/artist of Native American ancestry that is tied to the Hopi Tribe (Roadrunner & Greasewood clan) & the Tohono O’odham Tribe. I reside in a very small community 25 miles south of Sells, Arizona, located on the Tohono O’odham reservation with my family. I am married, a proud father of 6, and have 1 grandson.

I have been carving for 20+ years & I take great pride in the carvings I create. I use the inspiration from both my Hopi and Tohono O’odham background, my carvings represent the strong ties between both my cultures. I carve Hopi Kachinas, this is a skill that I learned by watching my relatives who are also Hopi carvers. Kachina dolls are traditionally carved using the root of cottonwood trees. I also carve Tohono O’odham Traditional dancers, both men and women.

I enjoy expanding my mind and carving what I feel inspires and will make people smile while taking pride in the very delicate detailed work I create. The tool used to carve is my old timer pocket knife.

Check out more of Homer and his beautiful artwork on his Instagram!