First Peoples Fund at 2021 Santa Fe Indian Market
August 31, 2021

First Peoples Fund at 2021 Santa Fe Indian Market

Santa Fe Indian Market is the world’s largest Native American arts show, and the annual 4-day event wrapped up in New Mexico.

Among the 600 vendors selling artwork, nearly 30 First Peoples Fund artists and cultural bearers participated in this year’s market (some virtually), including Artist in Business Leadership Fellow Lauren Good Day (Arikara, Hidatsa, Blackfeet, Plains Cree), whose fashion was featured at the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) 2021 Indigenous Fashion Show.

The market also featured Kelly Church (Gun Lake Tribe), recipient of the 2021 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award. Church, a basket maker and weaver, was nominated for and honored with a $25,000 award amount from First Peoples Fund for embodying her People's cultural assets in her creations and in her life. “Black ash basketry teaches us to work together,” says Church. “As you cannot safely harvest a tree alone.”

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1. Kelly Church (Gun Lake Tribe), 2021 Community Spirit Award recipient. 2. Jason Brown (Penobscot), aka Firefly, at the SWAIA Fashion Show.

The mission of Santa Fe Indian Market is to bring Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships. Santa Fe Indian Market began in 1922. Ninety-nine years later, the annual event brings in over $160 million in state revenue, according to SWAIA, with hundreds of gallery openings and events overtaking Santa Fe’s central plaza and streets.

The market included a live auction featuring artwork by 2016 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow Jason Brown (Penobscot), otherwise known as Firefly. Jason is inspired by his Wabanaki ancestors, and his jewelry pieces incorporate nature designs from his Penobscot culture.

Santa Fe Indian Market has been boosting artist careers for nearly a century by introducing event attendees to new and established artists. And each year, the market awards several accolades, including Best in Show. This year’s winners include Artist in Business Leadership Fellows Dana Warrington (Menominee/Potawatomi) in the diverse arts category for Defending the Homeland, and Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy) in basketry for Malsom (Wolf).

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1. Vendor booth of Monica Jo Raphael (Grand Traverse Band Ottawa and Chippewa, Rosebud Sioux, Huron and Pokagon Potawatomi). Raphael is also a 2021 Cultural Capital Fellow. Photo by Lori Pourier. 2. Lorraine Gala Lewis (Laguna Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, Hopi-Tewa), 2021 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow. 3. Fashion by Delina White (Leech Lake Band of Objibwe, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe). Photos courtesy of the artist.

Lorraine Gala Lewis (Laguna Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, Hopi-Tewa) is another market participant. Lewis, a pottery maker and 2021 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow, has been attending and selling artwork at Santa Fe Indian Market since the early 1970s. “The market has really grown!” explains Lewis. “When I started at the Indian market, it was focused only on Southwest artists.” But Lewis praises tribal diversity at the 2021 market.

And at a different events across Santa Fe, Artist in Business Leadership Fellow Delina White (Leech Lake Band of Objibwe, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) showcased her fashion line at the Indian Market Gala Reception. White creates her own fabrics from her original beadwork designs, drawing inspiration from Anishinaabe/Ojibwe history.

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