Sunday, August 28, 2022

Indian Market Week in Santa Fe

For the first time in the over 30 years that we have attended Indian Market in Santa Fe on the first morning, we have never experienced rain. I guess there is always a first time. We went down anyway, and it did not look like it was empty. Maybe not quite as busy as normal but those who were set on acquiring works did not let a little rain deter them. When we went back on Sunday, many artists had already had great sales.


I was tempted to call this Missive “Crazy Week in Santa Fe”. Everyone has decided the pandemic is over, we know it is not but we can all feel safer now that most have been vaccinated.

There is so much going on that not only did we have to make choices as what to attend we also found that artists had to make choices as to where they wished to sell their works of art or ask a relative to sit in for them.

It is the 100th anniversary of Indian Market, and all the American Indian Institutions have used the excuse to promote their organizations. I wrote about the Hoop Dance Competition which kicked off the week for us. Then we were invited to a gala for the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) a public tribal land-grant college in Santa Fe, from where many important artists have graduated’ The event, with auction and paddle call, raised $834,000 for their scholarship fund from the packed La Fonda Hotel ballroom!

The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian had a 3-day benefit sale of Jewelry, Katsinas, baskets and pots from which 30 were sold the first day.

On one of those days a number of well-known artists who were invited by the Wheelwright and were not interested in doing Indian Market had a sales show on the small plaza in front of the museum. While her parents attended the booth their daughter kept herself occupied.

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts had a full day planned. We attended a panel discussion with 5 American Indian Artists. They were writers, editors and creative artists all being identified with more than one designation. The overall topic I would define as identity and how they define themselves. A major point expressed by all is that the Tribes have their own culture and their own language but that does not mean that they are not also full participants in today’s world. Since the ‘Native Americans’ refer to themselves as ‘Indians’, I asked which term they believed I should use in my Missives and the general reply was neither and they suggested I use the name of their Tribe or Pueblo. I replied that I write for an international audience and then one member suggested that I use a prescribed style sheet or use the term ‘American Indian’.

Regarding language I had asked at the IAIA gala, the Governor of the Acoma Pueblo whether the different languages of the Indians had common roots as in European languages and he said a number of pueblos had common roots in their language but others were totally different. I don’t speak Hopi but I had reason to buy their dictionary which comes in at just under 900 pages. Of the 574 Federally recognized Tribes. 23 are In New Mexico.

The day before Indian Market we went to an exhibition of many of the works that would be for sale at Indian Market and the prize winners, such as Best of Class, ie painting & photography, Sculpture & Katsinas, Bead Work etc. There is also one winner for Best of Show. Here is the pot made by Russel Sanchez (San Ildefonso Pueblo) that received this award. He called the Pot “100 Years in the Making!”. It contains about 400 pieces of Turquoise and Hematite beads inlaid by the artist.

Of course, there was a luncheon connected to that.

Finally, the cold and wet first day of Market we were invited by IAIA to an outdoor luncheon to publicize a relatively new American Indian organization called The Forge Project in upstate New York. The New York Times sums it up as follows: “The Forge Project, based in the Hudson Valley, is Becky Gochman’s initiative to raise the profile of the artists and find homes for their work in collections and museums.”

To sum up the past week, with the addition of a couple of non-American Indian events, I am exhausted but looking forward to next year!

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