Gifts from Mother Earth are plentiful at local tribal locations, and interpretation from the artists adds richness to holiday tradition. Among the Native American–made arts found locally, look for pottery (both micaceous and polychrome designs), turquoise, coral and silver jewelry, sculptures, paintings, Pueblo foods, musical instruments, pottery tree ornaments, beadwork, dreamcatchers, rugs and more. Local, unique, handmade gifts that also support cultural-retention efforts add extra meaning to gifting.
Advantages of buying from Native artists include having the opportunity to talk with artists directly about their work and the materials and the possibility of having an authentic experience close to home. You can add some adventure and stories to your shopping. Plus, the full price of the artwork goes directly to the artist.
Find the Native Unique
Starting from the northern region of New Mexico, experience cultural gems that provide over a dozen buying opportunities and shows. Here are a few:
At Taos Pueblo, over 30 Native-owned shops feature a wide range of pottery, baskets, jewelry, clothing, CDs and Native foods, as well as tours offered by the pueblo—seven days a week. www.taospueblo.com
The Poeh Winter Market will be held Dec. 5-7, 11 a.m to 7 p.m at the Buffalo Thunder Resort main lobby, Pojoaque Pueblo. Additionally, the Poeh Cultural Center Native Artists Showcase at Buffalo Thunder, 15 miles north of Santa Fe, features the work of Poeh Center instructors and advanced students, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Look for contemporary jewelry, pottery, baskets, and regalia. www.facebook.com/nativeartistsshowcase
At the Poeh Cultural Center and Museum location off Highway 285, Roxanne Swentzell’s Tower Gallery features internationally renowned bronze sculptures and Pueblo hospitality. www.roxanneswentzell.net
In the Picuris Gift Shop at the Hotel Santa Fe (in Santa Fe), owned by the tribe, artistic gifts such as micaceous pottery and paintings, directly from artists at Picuris Pueblo, can be found. 505.955.7853.www.hotelsantafe.com
The Jicarilla Apache Culture Center at the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce, New Mexico, sells baskets and jewelry. 575.759.1343. Jicarilla Arts and Crafts sells world-renowned Jicarilla baskets. 575.759.4380; the Community Center is holding a preholiday bazaar on Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 575.759.4376. www.jicarillaonline.com for a community map.
Kewa (formerly Santo Domingo) Pueblo will hold its annual bazaar featuring arts and foods on Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Santo Domingo Public School. 505.465.2214.
Walatowa Visitor Center at Jemez Pueblo sells arts and crafts in the gift store. Additionally, enjoy the sale of arts and crafts and traditional foods at Jemez Red Rocks, weekends, weather permitting. 575.834.7235.www.jemezpueblo.com
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, in Albuquerque, a wide range of tribal arts can be found in the Shuma Kolowa Native Arts store, and tribal vendors sell on weekends. Enhance your shopping experience viewing Pueblo dancing at noon on weekends. 505.724.3500, www.indianpueblo.org
The Arts and Crafts Fair at the Bureau of Indian Affairs office is another opportunity for finding Native arts, Friday, Dec. 19, at 1011 Indian School Road NW. 505.563.5104.
The Sandía Circle Arts & Crafts Fair will be held Dec. 20 at the Sandía Pueblo Wellness Center (just north of Albuquerque). 505.369.5957.
At Acoma Pueblo, the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum is open weekends for winter hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists sell directly from booths, and the museum store features books, T-shirts, jewelry and pottery. Tours are available. www.acomaskycity.org
Zuni Tribe, the largest tribe in New Mexico, is renowned for exquisite inlay and petit point turquoise jewelry. At the Zuni Artists’ Pavilion adjacent to the Visitor Center, artists sell directly to the public. www.zunitourism.com
Enjoy the catalog of the nonprofit Southwest Indian Foundation and the store in Gallup, New Mexico, for the arts of Navajo, Zuni and other tribes. Locally produced foods, jewelry, socks, books and CDs are featured. Profits bring food and wood stoves to low-income tribal families. www.southwestindian.com
For maps, event listings and phone numbers to tribal locations, check the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s website http://indianpueblo.org/19pueblos/pueblomap/html and the New Mexico Department of Tourism website www.newmexico.org/events
Plan Ahead for 2015
Fascinating Native art shows are scheduled throughout the year. The major Native art event, Santa Fe Indian Market, to be held Aug. 22–23 around the plaza in Santa Fe, features over 1,000 artists. SWAIA also holds an Annual Winter Indian Market in late November. www.swaia.org. The new Indigenous Fine Art Market at the Santa Fe Railyard features Native contemporary arts and starts Aug. 21, the day before Indian Market.
Buy direct from Zuni artists at the 3rd Annual Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Festival, May 9, 2015 and at the Zuni Cultural Arts Expo Aug. 8-9, the same weekend as the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial. Catch the fall art show Nov. 24-26, just before Thanksgiving.
Kewa (Santa Domingo Pueblo) Annual Arts Market is held from Friday through Sunday every Labor Day weekend. Additionally, the Jicarilla Apache Nation sponsors the Little Beaver Celebration every third weekend in July in Dulce, New Mexico, featuring tribal dancing and artists’ booths.
Several of the pueblo feast days feature artists’ booths and Native foods. Held on the same dates every year, watch for these:
- Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo), June 24
- Picuris Pueblo, Aug. 10
- Santa Clara Pueblo, Aug. 12
- Taos Pueblo, Sept. 30
- Nambé Pueblo, Oct. 4
- Pojoaque Pueblo, Dec. 12
Add Meaning to Your Gifting
In the Native way, cultural meaning of the arts is complex and rich. The process of art-making is integrated with everyday life activities and important to cultural-retention efforts. Symbolism ties to traditional activities, and many designs stem from thousands of years ago.
Buying from Native artists is a learning experience. Benefits of your support include authenticity; encouragement of cultural-retention efforts such as teaching the arts in families and schools; and reinforcing Native language retention. Your interest and purchases stimulate the continuity of these time-honored traditions.
In the words of Rina Swentzell (Santa Clara potter), “The closest word in Tewa for a creative activity is ‘to make,’ to be in the process of making. It is a matter of making things, anything, well. It is not an outside extra thing. The goal is not the production of objects but the living of life.”
Make Christmas shopping a meaningful local adventure!
Susan Guyette, Ph.D., is of Métis heritage (Micmac Indian/Arcadian French). She is a planner specializing in cultural tourism, cultural centers, museums and native foods. She is the author of Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Small-Scale Solutions and Planning for Balanced Development and co-author of Zen Birding: Connect in Nature. firstname.lastname@example.org