Indigenous Creativity Shined at the 101st Santa Fe Indian Market

More than a thousand Indigenous artists from more than 200 tribes gathered at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico this weekend. Now in its 101st year, it’s a longstanding tradition for artisans to showcase and sell their pottery, textiles, jewelry, and more. The two-day event—organized by SWAIA—delivered both a vibrant street style scene and an innovative runway show, featuring top Native designers such as Orlando Dugi, Lauren Good Day, and Jamie Okuma (who recently became the first Native designer ever to become a member of the CFDA).

Held in and around the historic Santa Fe Plaza, attendees got to peruse the assortments of craftwork from a diverse array of artists. One could spend many hours shopping the one-of-a-kind ribbon shirts from Penny Singer; printed hoodies and skirts from Elias Jade Not Afraid; elegant earrings and rings from jewelers such as Keri Ataumbi, Maria Samora, and Robin Waynee; and striking artwork by Wakeah Jhane and Penélope Joe. Even better? The street style scene was a sight to behold in itself, as many in attendance used the opportunity to display their cultural pride. Attendees and artists showed up in their finest ensembles for the occasion. 

Well-clad guests were seen rocking their finest Native-made pieces, such as floral-beaded earrings, colorful ribbon skirts, and turquoise squash-blossom necklaces worth a small fortune. If the Indigenous community has its version of the Met Gala, this would be it. Traditional items were paired with jeans or dresses for a cool, current feel. The annual Clothing Contest held on the plaza, meanwhile, displayed the best of time-honored regalia. Men, women, and young people were judged on their traditional Indigenous attire made with raw, organic, or natural materials. The ensembles ranged from striking jingle dresses to dentalium-shell capes.

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