This past weekend, the Santa Fe Indian Market celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the annual event—where Indigenous artists across North America take over downtown Santa Fe, and showcase their latest works for sale—has only continued to grow in scope. Originally an intimate event held indoors, the market was once specifically focused on reviving the art of Pueblo pottery making, but today it has since evolved to include beadwork, quillwork, textiles, ceramics, and many other mediums—all from artists of different tribes, styles, and locations. Whether traditional or contemporary in feel, each piece tells a different story, and maintains a specific aspect of cultural craftwork. (Today, the market is run by the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, known as SWAIA).
This year, Indigenous beauty was on full display more than ever before. Inside the 668 booths, which lined the streets of Santa Fe’s downtown plaza, over 800 artists displayed and sold their new wares, some of which took months—or the whole calendar year—to produce. Highlights included one-of-a-kind works such as Pat Pruitt’s titanium feather necklaces; Maria Samora’s sleek silver rings and cuffs; Jill Kaasteen’s whimsical pickle-shaped medallions, as featured on the hit series Reservation Dogs; Jontay Kahm’s sculptural goose-feather dresses; and Elias Jade Not Afraid’s leather cape embellished with bull elk ivory, dentalium shells, ermine tails, and spikes.
Fashionable visitors—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—wore their best turquoise jewelry and beadwork while browsing these latest assortments. The many serious (and wealthy) international collectors are known to line up at their favorite artist’s booths at the crack of dawn. Many patrons also showed up in style for the Illuminatives: Indigenous Futures event at the nearby La Fonda hotel, where special panel discussions were held with appearances from Indigenous Hollywood stars—including Prey’s Amber Midthunder, Dark Winds’s Zahn McClarnon, and Rutherford Falls’s Jana Schmieding.