Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Past

We have delayed posting this blog until Thanksgiving Day has past for two reasons.

One is to spare our readers another thing to do in the midst of the pressure of preparing for the Thanksgiving Day feast, reunions and family gatherings. The other has been to give us time to post some items before the Thanksgiving weekend shopping fest is too far gone.

So, when you return from that zoo called the mall, where you may have gone to find gifts only to come home “mauled” and missing many of the things you were looking for, sit back, relax and go online to find the special “somethings” that don’t show up on the beaten path.

We have posted a number of these items to our eBay store at

It is an eclectic potpourri (two words I have always wanted to use in s single sentence) that either don’t fit easily in the categories of our web sites or are a good way for those who have not found our web sites yet to get a sample of what we have. Hopefully, they will follow the breadcrumbs to the web sites if the eBay store doesn’t meet their needs, And while there, take a look at the handful of auction items we post as the seller, “taosski.”

Of course, you, as a knowledgeable fan of Native American and other ethnographic crafts and art, know exactly where to go to find the good stuff. Native-JewelryLink for top quality Native American jewelry, Native-PotteryLink for fine Native American hand-made pottery, TribalWorks for Arctic art, Navajo folk art, Australian Aboriginal art and African art and ZuniLink for spirit-moving carvings from Zuni, Cochiti and other Pueblos.

SWAIA’s Winter showcase this weekend

One of the things that lover’s of Native American art have to be thankful for is the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). In addition to hosting the annual Santa Fe Indian Market each August, they have started a new show called the Winter Showcase.

One of the disadvantages of bringing you this blog later than usual is that it is very short notice to announce this event, unless you happen to be in the Santa Fe area anyway and can pop over,

All events take place at the Inn and Spa at Loretto in downtown Santa Fe, right on Old Santa Fe Trail. There are admission fees, but all proceeds go to support the activities of SWAIA, a non-profit organization.

SWAIA has a web site. You might, however, find it more convenient to call their offices for information, 505-983-5220.

Wilson Romero’s Nativities

In an earlier blog posting, we mentioned that we were expecting some nativity sets from Wilson Romero of the Cochiti Pueblo.

His Nativities don’t hang around for long and they have arrived.

Pictures aren’t up yet but should be before Monday. So check out the ZuniLink website and go to Wilson’s page to see what he hath wrought.

We’ll try and post a message when they actually are up. But, as this late edition of Tribal Artery evidences, our publishing schedule is not that reliable.

Have you jumped on the blog train?

A few blogs back we announced a drawing that would award a fascinating engine and passenger coach train to some lucky winner.

Fascinating? Consider that it was hand-made from palm fiber by an East African native artisan.

You could say, when it is not being toyed with, it doubles as a work of folk art.

Anyway, all that is required is to subscribe to a feed for this Tribal Artery blog and send us an email notifying us that you have done so. Bingo! Your name goes in the hat.

There is nothing to buy. And, if you tire of the blog feed, you can unsubscribe at any time. How easy is that?

So scroll down through past blog posts to see a picture of the prize train, sign up to get the feed and email us. The train will go to someone. It might as well be you.

(Ear)Ring in the New Year

We have been posting a lot new earrings lately, including some that will be going up this weekend.

As you know, we don’t bulk order anything, including earrings. We hand-pick each pair based our feeling for what is beautiful, extremely well-done and will accent the high-class apparel of our customers. (That’s you.)

So, as the party season kicks in and the New Year lies waiting behind December’s door, consider earrings for yourself or for a loved one.

One of the nice things about earrings is that, for the most part, they are lower priced than other Native American jewelry. Yet, they are just a beautiful and just as technically fine in their creation. And you get two for the price of one (lol).

Start your earring search at the first of twenty pages featuring them on Native-JewelryLink, and page through the remaining pages until the perfect pair its your eye, We have posts, wires, hoops and dangles.

Many minis have been posted.

There is one entire category of pottery that attracts a special cohort of collectors: the miniatures.

They are not necessarily less expensive than full size pieces because of the intricacy of the detail required to create them.

For some collector’s, however, they fit right into their lifestyles. Because of their size they can easily fit on a knick-knack shelf or a mantelpiece.

If you know someone who collects miniatures, or if you do yourself, check out the minis on our Native-PotteryLink web site.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Free Palm Fiber Train to be Given Away

Imagine this palm fiber engine and passenger car, hand-woven in East Africa, as part of your holiday decorations or as a surprise toy for some youngster in your family. It will be given away to some lucky subscriber to this blog. The engine is 7" high, 5" wide and 10" long. The passenger car is 8" high, 5" wide and 9" long.

In order to qualify for the drawing, please subscribe to an RSS or ATOM feed of the Tribal Artery blog and send us an email at confirming that you have subscribed. There is no cost to subscribe and you may cancel your subscription at any time after the drawing.

The winner will be announced on December 15, 2006 and the two-car palm leaf train will be awarded free of charges. The only cost will be for shipping, which will be at cost for shipping anywhere in the US.
Tribal Artery, is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and the following web sites - Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. Visit any of them anytime.

Monday, November 13, 2006

T’is the season.

Native American carvings always are in season. As the holidays approach, however, Nativity sets become more significant. Also known as “Nacamientos”, they reflect a strong Christian tradition that was brought to the pueblos by Spanish missionaries moving north from Mexico. Those traditions were adopted by the native peoples, with beautiful adobe chapels being constructed through out the Southwest.

An extension of this religious tradition has been the creation of Nativity sets, primarily in pottery. For a selection of these creations now available in our collection, visit our Native-PotteryLink web site. Each potter has her own style, easily identifiable by students of that potter’s work.

Some also have become more whimsical in their approach. The Fragua family of Jemez Pueblo in particular, have extended the nativity tradition to creatures such as mice, bears and others. While some may find these somewhat sacrilegious, we think they are charming and represent a valid perception of God’s creation by the original inhabitants of America.

More recently, Wilson Romero of Cochiti has begun to carve nativity sets from stones found on the Cochiti Pueblo grounds and elsewhere in the area. An example of one of his first nativity sets in shown here. It shows the beginning of a style that was to mature just a few months later. His most recent works have sold quickly.

We talked with Wilson yesterday and he reported he has new nativity sets underway in his studio. He has promised to send us a few as soon as they completed and can be shipped. Since Wilson lives on the pueblo, shipping is not as easy as running down to the local UPS store. We will be waiting with great anticipation. If you would like to be notified when the new sets arrive, please email us with your contact information at We wil let you know when we receive tthem.

Problems at the Portal

Three Native American artists, Glenn Paquin (Laguna Pueblo jeweler), Allen Bruce Paquin (Jemez Pueblo jeweler) and Merton Sisnero (Santa Clara Pueblo potter), have filed suit against the Museum of New Mexico officials concerning their removal from the Portal Vendors Association.

The suit charges that Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman expelled the three from the association's advisory committee in January, 2006. At the time of removal Ashman claimed he was acting as a result of a petition signed by 200 artists who claimed the three did not live up to their responsibilities, according to the Indian Trader, a Gallup, NM, based weekly newspaper.

We have featured the Portal, which sits outside the Museum of New Mexico's Governor's Palace in Santa Fe, in previous blog postings. It is one of our favorite places to browse when in Santa Fe. We see a wide array of vetted work by credentialed artists and have met some of our favorite artist there in the past.

We hope the dispute is settled fairly and harmoniously.

Don’t Mess with Stolen Artifacts

The Federal Government is very serious about protecting American Indian artifacts found on Federal Lands and very serious about prosecuting people who steal them. Case in point is that of an Oregon man, Jack Lee Harelson, who already is serving 10 years in prison for theft of artifacts from US Government property. Seems he is looking at another two years for another conviction, with sentencing to take place December 19th.

Harelson prior conviction was for stealing artifacts and mummified remains in 1996. The scene of the crime was Elephant Mountain Cave in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. In addition to the time he must serve, he was fined $2.5 million in a corresponding civil suit.

The moral of this story is always be sure of your sources when considering pre-historic artifacts. If they didn’t come from private land and your seller can’t verify it, you could end up paying a high price for the acquisition.


Tribal Artery is a periodic blog about the world of tribal art, brought to you by the web sites of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, including Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink.

Look for us in Native Peoples

Aboriginals is a regular advertiser in a Native Peoples magazine. We run a quarter-page, normally towards the back of the magazine, featuring one or more pieces that are particularly interesting. This month, we featured a hawk fetish carving by Salvador Romero, our Cochiti carver friend. The January/December ad will display three pieces of attractive Native American jewelry: a necklace with pendant by Rodney Coriz, Santo Domingo, a pin/pendant by Rolanda Haloo, Zuni and an eagle pendant necklace by Herman Vandever, Navajo.

Items that are featured in our ads tend to be sold shortly after they appear. That's what happened to Salvador's hawk carving. If any of these pieces strikes your fancy, you might want to get your order in before the ad appears. To get a closer look at each piece, click on the links above.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

American Indian Arts Celebration

It’s short notice, we know, but if you are in South Florida and can get there, you may find the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s 9th Annual American Indian Arts Festival worth a visit. It opened yesterday and continues through Sunday, November 12 at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. The hours are 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for Seniors (55 or older) and kids (6 to 12 years) Youngsters under 6 are free.

Principal access to Big Cypress Reservation is via Rattlesnake Road, which runs north from I-75 (Alligator Alley) at the Miccosukkee exit west of Fort Lauderdale. For more information and alternate directions, call 863-902-1113.

Incidentally, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is worth a day trip in its own right. It is quite informative and very well done. This show is held every year around this time so you might want to put a tag on your calendar to start looking for it in October next year. We also will try to be more attentive and timely for the 10th annual event in 2007.

We are “secure”.

Native American Indian jewelry shoppers will find a new feature at our site. We now have a “secure” order form. This means that you can place your order on the form and include credit card information without concern that it will be intercepted and fall into the wrong hands. Of course, we still welcome telephone calls from anyone who has a question or still is uncomfortable about sending personal information over the web. You may call us toll-free at 800-305-0185.

As for the secure order form, when you click through to it, it will appear with the letters “https” (the “s” signifying “secure”) in front of the "//" and a padlock icon in the browser bar field. This is your assurance that your information is safe from unauthorized access.

We hope that the introduction of the toll-free 800 number and the secure order form will make it easier for you to do your holiday shopping this year. We offer assured delivery by Christmas for all orders received by December 15, 2006. But don’t wait too long to order. Since almost everything on any of our Web sites – Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink - is a one-of-a-kind item, when it is sold, it is gone.

Currently, only our Native-JewelryLink web site has the secure order form. But if you want to use that form to order something from one of the other three sites, feel free to do so. As long as you include the item code and your phone Number, we will be able to figure it out or call you for clarification.

Happy Holidays.

New Zealand Maoris furious over plans for a themed apartment complex in Texas

By Jason Edward Kaufman (Reproduced here under the fair use rules.)

NEW YORK. A proposed Maori-themed apartment complex outside Dallas recently served as a platform for the New Zealand natives to proclaim their pride. In June, after California-based Legacy Partners announced plans to build a residential complex featuring Maori themes and folk art in suburban Plano, the company received dozens of emails charging the company with “cultural theft.” Complaints centered on the name of the complex, “Kiora Park,” taken from the Maori expression of welcome. The problem was that the phrase is properly transliterated as “Kia Ora.” "How many more mistakes will there be?" Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia asked. "We're all very proud of the culture and more than willing to share it with people who come here, but to have it transplanted into Dallas, that sounds a bit incredible," she said.

No harm was meant, explains Richard Brownjohn, a vice president in Legacy’s Dallas office. “Our marketing people thought it had an unusual ring but was something people would easily pronounce. It was spelled as one word at first because Americans might butcher the spelling and we wanted it pronounced right. We didn’t think it would get Maoris upset,” he says. The name was quickly changed to “Kia Ora Park”.

Mr Brownjohn—a New Zealander who is not Maori—is overseeing the $30m, 15-acre, 250-apartment complex which broke ground in June and will open by next summer. The apartment buildings have Maori-inspired steeply pitched roofs with finials, and landscaping includes ferns, a significant motif in Maori culture that appears on Kia Ora promotional literature and the web site. “The theme came from us looking for something new and different,” he explains, noting that Tuscan and Spanish-colonial themes are more common in Texas. “My being from New Zealand was the impetus that got us going in that direction,” he says, noting that the complex is more broadly New Zealander than merely Maori with some buildings imitative of Victorian colonial architecture.

“We are not trying to create a theme park, but trying to create name recognition,” he says, “and we are trying to be sensitive.” But Maori activist Ken Mair has called the plan "cultural theft and possibly theft of intellectual property" and suggested that Legacy consult with Maori advisors. Mr Brownjohn says the company has no intention to do so, but he did contact the
New Zealand consulate in Washington which put him in touch with Maori Aotearoa (Maori Arts New Zealand) Red Feather Gallery in Auckland which is described as the only Maori-owned art gallery in New Zealand.

Michigan Indian Tribes Seeking New Business Opportunities

A recent conference of at the Little River Casino Resort was the venue for a discussion among Michigan Indian tribes about how to diversify their business interests beyond casinos and gaming.

According ot Steve Parsons of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, casino gaming is not sustainable over the long-term.

Many speakers at the conference echoed the sentiment emphasizing the need for tribal members to apply for certification as minority businesses in order to qualify for government assistance and contracts.

William Largent, a Keewanaw Bay Indian who also is National Director of Native American Affairs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, commented that tribal economies used to be highly dependent on government assistance and natural resources. More recently, gaming and entertainment have become the focus of their economic actrivity. “It’s hard to find something that gives us the return on investment gaming does. We need to create economies in individual tribes. No two tribes are alike.” Largent observed.

An important day of remembrance.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was designated by President Woodrow Wilson as a time of commemoration of those who fell in the battlefields of World War I. Subsequently, President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated the entire day, November 11th, as the day each year to remember the fallen and others who have risked their lives in defense of the nation’s freedom and lived to talk about it. Veteran’s Day, as we know it in 2006, should be one of our most somber days of thoughtful remembrance.

We owe these heroes greatly. Among them are the Native American code talkers who were instrumental in helping the Allies defeat Japan and Germany by using their native dialects to to communicate about military movements and coordinate plans. The enemy forces, which were prepared to decode systems using English language, were befuddled by the use of Native American languages. Most well-known of the groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Others, such as the Choctaw, Chippewa/Oneida, Menominee, Sac and Fox, Sioux, Crow, Missisauga, Cree, Comanche and Hopi, also participated and contributed their patriotic part in the victory over Nazi fascism and Japanese imperialism.

Among Susanne's and my most treasured carvings is a set of Navajo Code Talkers (above) marching as a U. S. Marine Corps color guard as carved by Navajo Renzo Reed.

This year, we will take the few moments to remember them and all who have answered the call to arms in the nation’s defense from the Revolutionary War to the streets of Baghdad and the mountains of Afghanistan. It’s the least we can do. Thank you.

Code Talker Reference Links:
Tribal Artery is a periodic blog about the world of tribal art from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its allied web sites at for authentic Zuni, Cochiti and San Felipe carvings; for authentic and beautiful Native American jewelry;, for outstanding examples of Native American Pueblo pottery and, for a potpourri of Native American folk, Australian Aboriginal art and African tribal art. You are invited to visit.