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Paul was a moccasin maker since his early teens growing up in South Dakota, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux. He moved to New Mexico in 1978 to continue his post high school education and upon completion decided to stay because “there are no blizzards”. Tenoso caught “rock fever” while walking in the mountains near Pecos, New Mexico. “A light rain had just ended and as I resumed walking there was a flash of light off a south facing cut bank. I had been bushwhacking all morning through the forest navigating by map and compass and the first thought was a hunter must’ve dropped something so I went to have a look. To my surprise I picked up a perfect 6 inch long obsidian spearpoint. Obsidian is volcanic glass so it is naturally shiny, and wet obsidian shines brilliantly. So I was correct it was a hunter BUT a hunter from the stone age! As I picked the point up, I felt energy moving through me from head to toe as I realized that this would be my new artform, flintknapping. I was in my 30’s then and in a few weeks, I will begin my 60s. I am self-taught but I have used archeology books to guide me. If there are nine ways to skin a cat, there are at least that many ways to make points and blades.”
Tenoso has shown his work for 10 years consecutively in the highly competitive Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum, and various Native American shows and Old Town Albuquerque venues. His work has been featured nationally in Native People’s Magazine, Ornament Magazine (online edition) and the Corrales Comment. He has presented his “trunk show” of stone age arts and skills at historical societies, for the Park Service’ summer speakers series and as an annual presenter for the town of Bernalillo Library speakers series.
Paul believes that, to know ourselves we have to look back to where we have come from and in so doing, “we’ll realize our relatedness- we’ll realize, either we are all sacred or none of us are. “