Tuzigoot – isn’t this a fun word?Actually, it’s a made-up word, because they got the real one wrong!Keep reading and I’ll explain.
Tuzigoot National Monument is in central Arizona, the remains of a pueblo built 1000 years ago by the Singaguas and used for about 400 years. It was 2 stories tall and had 77 rooms on the lower floor.They used ladders to climb down into it from the roof. It’s on top of a ridge so it’s got a great view of the Verde Valley where they grew their crops.
Since there weren’t any Singaguas alive when some of the first white explorers came through the area , they asked the local Indians what the ruins were called.The Apaches actually didn’t call them anything, so their guide made up a name using an Apache word that means “crooked water” (think meandering river).Everybody kind of liked that name, but the real Apache word is pronounced “Two-ze-whoot”.In typical government bureaucracy form, some clerk messed it up and spelled it with a “g”. Now it's pronounced “Two-ze-goot”, which doesn’t mean a darned thing.
We arrived about the same time as a bus load of grade-school kids on a field trip.Their teachers split them into a couple of groups, and we played do-si-do around them most of the time.
One group came into the museum as we were leaving; the other group was ahead of us going up the hill to the pueblo; then the first bunch came uphill as we were going back down.We tried to give them lots of leeway, and pretty much tried to stay out of their way as we explored the ruins.Little boys were walking on the wall lining the trail; little girls were giggling with their friends.
One of the chaperones apologized to us because we had to move aside so they could head downstairs from the rooftop.“We don’t care", I told her. "None of them are going home with us!”I think she might have wished for the same thing…