December 03, 2011

Traditional Moccasin

A few weeks ago I met a young man from San Felipe Pueblo
Ray Lucero makes custom-made moccasins in the traditional method.
He traced my left foot, ("your left foot is always the biggest"),
and about a week later I was enjoying my fawn-colored low-cut moccasins.
Ray is self-taught;
"I watched other make them over the years and figured I could try".
And I quickly decided to become one of his dedicated customers
after looking over a wide array of turquoise, dark blue, black, white, and wine-red samples
at a craft show held at my hospital.
I purchased a low-cut fawn-tone pair. I wear about an 8-1/2; so the moccasins were $85.

He makes infant, toddler, children and adult-sized moccasins; both low-cut and high-top.
He specializes in high-top white moccasins for the Pueblo/Native dancers.

This past week, I met his sisters.
They were quick to ask if I liked my moccasins
(Yes! Very much!)

asked if I would be wearing them to work at the hospital
(Heavens NO! Too much wet and slimy, scary stuff on the floors!)
and to give me information for a local shoe repair shop;
to have my leather-soled moccasins protected with rubber soles.

I'll probably pass:
I can appreciate protecting the shoes to last longer, and being able to wear them outdoors.
But I'd like to think I am more traditional in my style sense.

These moccasins will stay inside; on our warm rug, padding across our stone or tile floors,
or simply resting on the leather footstool near my reading chair.

Ray Lucero lives in San Felipe Pueblo; between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
San Felipe Pueblo a traditional Pueblo;
and many who live there are working to bring back their language, "Keresan",
a lilting, soft, breathy language that is a joy to listen to.
I listened to his sisters and his mother talk and laugh for a good 30 minutes,
hearing words like "therapist", medicine", and "Albuquerque"
sprinkled through the conversation, and not understanding anything else.
One sister told me about volunteering at a language school the Pueblo has recently started.

Ray doesn't have email or a website. He doesn't own a computer.
He doesn't drive much; (his mom says, "that old truck doesn't run too well"),
and he doesn't handle credit cards.
He will take cash once the moccasins are done,
(he doesn't have a bank account; so it may take a little time to have a check cashed),
but he is a sweet young man with a quick, shy smile.
And wonderful hand-made moccasins.

Traditional Moccasin
Ray Lucero
PO Box 4062
San Felipe Pueblo, NM 87001
(505) 274-5565

Please tell Ray that "Marty from Kindred Hospital in Albuquerque" told you about him.