Monday, December 24, 2007

Cheyenne Jim Storyteller on its way

Most artists have a certain style that, while occasionally varied, tends to identify their work beyond doubt. Among Native American potters, the stylistic differentiators show up in the choice of material, subject matter and design. For no artist is this more true than for Diane Lynn, a Navajo who works under the name, "Cheyenne Jim".

We have long been fans of Cheyenne Jim's work, which often is large and dominates any art setting. Until recently we had four in our collection. This month, this one began its journey to a new home.

Cheyenne Jim Navajo storyteller finds a new owner

For a little background, Cheyenne Jim is a Navajo, despite her name, who was raised on the Navajo Nation reservation following her birth in 1957. With a rich Navajo cultural tradition, reportedly going back to her childhood, when she is said to have been deeply impressed by a Yei Be Chei ceremony she attended with her Grandmother, a Navajo medicine woman.

Some say Cheyenne Jim's work is so distinctive that it does not reflect Native American influences. We disagree.
We find her choice of clay (often mica), her choice of subject matter (variations on the storyteller tradition) and her style of representation to be quintessentially Native American.

Her years as an art student at Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, appear to have influenced her artistic perspectives without seriously changing her original Navajo artistic sensibilities.

As these other Cheyenne Jim creations in our collection demonstrate, she has a style that is both very easy to empathize with and very distinctly hers.

For more information about Cheyenne Jim, we refer you to the following links.

We also invite you to view the many other storytellers available at
Navigate tot he Storyteller pages.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Santo Domingo Depression necklace offered on eBay

We have just posted a classic, vintage, Native American Santo Domingo Pueblo thunderbird necklace to eBay.
This necklace, which actually will not be posted until 5:45 tonight, is an excellent example of the work done by Santo Domingo women during and immediately after the Depression (ca 1930s-50s).

Since natural materials were hard to come by in the existing economic circumstances, the makers salvaged black composite from discarded auto batteries, phonograph records, broken bakelite shards, gypsum, colored plastic from combs and restaurant spoons and forks, and combined the materials with a mosaic inlay* of turquoise chips.

*In fact, it would be more apt to describe the mosaic as overlay since it was glued over the backing rather than inlaid into it.

These pieces were sold to travelers on the Santa Fe Railway when the trains stopped along the way in New Mexico. Original prices were as low as $1.

The Santo Domingo Pueblo is located just south of Santa Fe and may be accessed from Interstate 25. Today, it looks very much like it did back in the Depression days, except with newer model cars and upgraded homes. Today, however, Santo Domingo artists are doing spectacular jewelry work with finely cut and polished heishi, superb silversmithing and very detailed inlay of many natural materials, from turquoise to oyster shell.

Examples of contemporary Santo Domingo jewelry can be found at our Native-JewelryLink web site. Simply enter the search term Santo Domingo in the internal search engine, or click here for a singularly beautiful example.

The old depression-era thunderbird necklace is one of several we have collected. They will eventually be offered for sale. Watch this space, as they say, for more news.

Authored by William Ernest Waites, co-proprietor of, offering fine tribal art from Africa, Australia and the Arctic, and Navajo folk art;, featuring authentic Zuni, Cochiti, Navajo and San Felipe carvings;, home to a wide range of excellent Native American collector pottery and

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Small carving worth $57 million

News from Sotheby's is that a small, 3 1/4 inch carving of a lion that is attributed to Mesopotamia some 5,000 years ago, just sold at auction for $57 million, including the auctioneers commission. You read it right. Fifty-seven million dollars.

It is the most that has ever been bid for a sculpture, surpassing $29 million bid for a Picasso sculpture earlier this year.

For more info, check this out.

Now, place this in the context of beautiful carvings by Zuni and other Native American carvers. Makes them look like incredible bargains, eh?

Take a look at some of them at ZuniLink.

Are you wearing a mask?

Masks have played a role in human culture for ages. In tribal settings they have been used for communicating supernatural concepts, for providing community cohesiveness, for enforcing behavior and for artistic expression. Most African tribal cultures have masking traditions, including certain aesthetic values that help to identify the distinctiveness of the tribe or people.

Yet, mask carvers always have ventured beyond simply repeating an accepted design and into variations that reflect their individual sensitivities, visions and skills. As a result, African masks in particular have evolved with a variety that makes them very desirable to art collectors and, on a more commercial basis, for decor.

Today, masks are used in masquerades and costume parties mostly to entertain and assume a make-believe role. Once, they were considered a way to change or hide one's identity. This theme shows up in theater and literature, although common sense tells us that obscuring the face is a more fantastic than real way to disguise ones identity.

Now, masks have taken on a psychological dimension, References to "masking" as a way to change one's persona show up time and again in discussions of human psychology. As an aside, we at Aboriginals: Art of the First Person have had psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists acquire masks from our gallery collection, for use in their practices and as items for professional display.

We have recently encountered another blog with a well-written discussion of masks and the masking tradition here. We also encourage you to visit our web site at to see several masks representing different African tribal aesthetics.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It pays to advertise. It costs to ignore Tribal Artery

By William Ernest Waites

We advertise in the Smithsonian Museum American Indian Magazine from time to time.

The most recent edition included our ad featuring the newly acquired Troy Sice Nativity set carved from antler. With six elegantly carved pieces it is a stunning creation by a very talented Zuni carver.

No sooner than the magazine showed up in subscriber mailboxes than we received an order for it. Whoosh! At the speed of zephyr, it was gone.

We have since received numerous inquiries from others who are interested in purchasing it or one like it. We are aggressively seeking another set or two. But this is not the kind of item that is hiding in some inventory somewhere.

So it is difficult to make the connection or even special order one or more.

Here's the irony.

If you scroll down in the Tribal Artery blog to the November 6 blog message, you will see that we announced the acquisition of the Troy Sice Nativity at that time. Had anyone seen and contacted us about it, they could have purchased it first.

So, if you are interested in Nativities, we encourage to view the other sets available on our web site at Native-PotteryLink. We have many that may be just what you are looking for.

Thank you.

Higher prices, poorer quality on tap for Santa Fe.

by William Ernest Waites

Stand by for prices to rise and service to deteriorate when buying Indian art in Santa Fe or from Santa Fe.

Why would we say such a thing?

First, a caveat. We love Santa Fe. We visit there every year. It clearly is the high-class capitol of Native American Indian art.

So it hurts us to be critical. It hurts even more when we consider what will cause the pain.

The City of Santa Fe just passed a regulation that will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, effective January 1. It also will now include all businesses that must have a city license, not just those with 25 or more employees.

How come higher prices? Someone has to cover the increase in wage costs. Since so many dealers in Native American art operate at very low and unreliable profitability to start with, they will not have the resources to pay the higher wage without raising their prices to customers who buy and collect art.

(It is uncertain what effect it will have on individual artists who would hire assistants or clerks in their studios.)

Nevertheless, Santa Fe, which, candidly, was never the least costly place to buy Indian art, will notch up to even higher prices.

Part two: why poorer service? Basically because, at $9.50 per hour regardless of experience or skill, one can reasonably anticipate that many small (less than 25 employees) retail galleries and stores will not be able to afford to hire the extra staff to serve the customer. Fewer people to serve customers usually means poorer in-store service.

For a link to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican that discusses this story, click

Since we are not located in Santa Fe, we are able to continue to offer Native American art at low prices, made even lower by the lack of overhead with an online store. Yet we acquire work from the same artists as those Santa Fe dealers and galleries do.

We invite you to do your holiday shopping at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native PotteryLink and our TribalWorks Navajo Gallery.

Have a happy, (low cost) holiday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Did You Miss "Black" Friday? You can still save at ZuniLink

'Tis the season and the stores are filling despite pressures from other expenses.

Retail sales were up 8%+ over last year's "Black" Friday.

Most experts believe that the deep price cuts that were offered by major merchandisers was responsible for prying cash out to of shoppers' budgets.

Ironically, a cross check of retail prices with prices for similar items offered on the web might indicate that the discounted prices in the stores is about equal to the regular prices on the Internet. (We know we were able to reduce our prices when we closed our physical gallery two years ago and chose to sell only on the Web.)

Then, an Internet marketer, such as us, will come along and cut prices too.

That's what has happened at ZuniLink. ZuniLink is one of the most extensively stocked, reputable and service-oriented marketers on the Web.

At last count, we offered more than 800 fetish carvings by top carvers from Zuni, Cochiti, San Felipe and the Navajo nation. Our carvers include names such as Dee Edaakie, Jeffrey Tsalabutie, Gibbs Othole, Brian Hattie and Alonzo Esalio on the high end and ever-popular carvers such as Emery Eriacho, the Gaspers and Lena Boone, to name a few.

We go out of our way to treat our loyal customers in a way that keeps them loyal. As a matter of routine, we offer a seven-day return privilege on any item that is purchased based on Internet photos and text only.

We also are offering 10 days after Christmas Day to return any carving purchased as a Christmas gift.

We now offer 25% off the regular prices of almost every fetish carving on our ZuniLink site.

That's 25% off the already low Internet prices we offer every day.

Finally, and we will mention it again, we can ship for pre-holiday delivery if we receive your order by December 15.

But why wait for the last minute? With the response we are having to our sale, the carving you want may be gone by the time you get around to ordering it.

You can order from ZuniLink by visiting our Web site. Orders may be placed securely through our secure, encrypted order form or by calling our toll-free line at 800-305-0185.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Let the Post office buy the gas.

Whoosh! There goes the price of gas. It's now northwards of $3.15 a gallon around here. We hear folks in California are paying $4 to $5 a gallon.

Why would anyone do that to go "shopping"?

Buying online is like getting a huge discount on the gas you didn't have to use to get to the mall.

For instance, if you shop at an online gallery such as Native-JewelryLink, you can save the gas you would use to go from store to store. You can choose from more than a thousand items of Native American Indian jewelry, all authentic, guaranteed and returnable. If you buy from out of state, you can save the local tax on your purchase (although your state may expect you to file a return on your own.) If you (or your gift recipient) is unhappy with the item after it is received, you can return it to Native-JewelryLink within 10 days for a full refund.

What a deal! And we have added a sweetener. If your Native-JewelryLink order totals $100 or more, Susanne and William Waites will pay for domestic USPS Priority shipping to you.

What are you waiting for? Let the Postal Service use their gas to deliver your purchases.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

ZuniLink offering Zuni fetish carvings at 25% off for Holiday shoppers.

That's right. We are now offering all of our Zuni, Navajo, Cochiti and San Felipe fetish carvings with a 25% discount. The special sale will last for a limited time, may be withdrawn at any time, and may not be combined with any other discounts.

Nevertheless, if you have had your eye on a fetish carving at ZuniLink, now is the time to order it, and save 25%.

Start with a visit to ZuniLink.

We invite and welcome your visit.

Dee Edaakie Zuni carvings have been added to Zuni LInk

As we catch up with posting of new carvings acquired during our last trip, we have added an entire page for Dee Edaakie's carvings. You'll find them on this page.

Dee is one of the group of what we consider to be young "master carvers" at Zuni. And they all are friends. The group includes Dee Edaakie, Jeff Tsalabutie, Gibbs Othole and Brian Hattie.

It is a highlight of our visits to Zuni Pueblo when we can see them all.

We think you will enjoy looking at Dee's work all on one page.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nativities and Native American culture in Native Peoples

The November/December issue of Native Peoples magazine has a special editorial feature concerning Nativities (or as they are sometimes known, "Nascimientos"). It starts on page 36 and covers not only a number of examples by Native American Indian carvers and potters but also an historic discussion of the culture that spawned them.

We at Aboriginals have maintained a vibrant collection of Native American nativity sets. For the most part they are pottery. But some are carved works. For example, Wilson Romero of Cochiti carves sets from sandstone and natural stones found around the Cochiti Pueblo. One of his sets is pictured on page 38. Another carver who is doing nativity sets is Troy Sice of Zuni. Troy works in antler with inlaid turquoise and shell, plus sterling silver crowns adorning the three kings. An example of his technique is portrayed on page 37 of the article.

If you can't find a copy to buy, you can see an abstract of the publication online here. The November/December issue has not been posted to the web site yet but should be shortly.

If you are interested in seeing other examples of nativity sets, ones that actually can be purchased and added to your collection, visit the nativities page at
You will find examples of works by
Wilson Romero and
Troy Sice
also by clicking on the appropriate preceding link.

While we are on the subject of Native Peoples magazine, one of our favorites, you will find a link to them on our web sites and you will also find an advertisement from Aboriginals on page 50. With so many beautiful Calvin Begay bracelets to show, we couldn't choose one. So we showed a lot of them. You can see each up close at this web address.

There's also an ad for Aboriginals in Smithsonian Magazine, featuring the Troy Sice Nativity Set, if you happen ot pick up a copy of that fine magazine.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

108-year-old blogger

We just learned about a 108-year-old woman - one of the oldest people still alive - who has a blog.

So if you think blogging is only for youngsters, ask Olive Riley. Perhaps she stays young by staying on line.

What does she blog about?

Well, she's looking for lost relatives.

We'll bet she has a lot of them.

You go, Olive!

Now, what is keeping you from blogging and from subscribing to this blog?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Gold hits new highs

I know we wrote about this before but there is news.

According to AFP, Gold is closing in on $800 per ounce. This is the highest price since the early 1980s.

Gold prices are up about one-third over just the last year.

What does this have to do with tribal art?

Well, if you are a buyer of jewelry, and Native American jewelry in particular, you would be well served to look up the people you normally buy from and see if they have raised their prices to reflect the increase in gold value. (And where gold goes, silver is sure to follow.)

If they have not, you could be looking at some real bargains.

For example, at, we have a number of gold and silver pieces that are priced at the same level they were at five years ago.

If you are interested, take a look now. At the rate it is going, the replacement cost may force us to raise prices soon.

Visit our Native American Indian jewelry site soon. The holidays are coming.

PS: We'll ship any order for $100 or more via USPS Priority mail at our our expense. Insurance will be at cost.

Thank you for your attention

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saving the Jaguar. You can help.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper, the jaguar, a predatory cat of Central and North America, is in a threatened species state.

A new organization called the Northern Jaguar Project is raising funds to purchase a 30,000 acre ranch in northern Mexico, which is an important part of the jaguar range and is currently owned by a man who says he personally shot many of the creatures when he found them on his land.

For more information about the Northern Jaguar Project, go to


The writer realizes this is not 100% on topic for Tribal Art. But I feel that many of the people who admire tribal art would be interested in this exotic creature and these attempts to stabilize their population.

Shameless commercial: New jewelry on .

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Delbert ChargingCrow carvings are ready for you

Whilst in New Mexico in August, we uncovered a cache of beautiful Delbert ChargingCrow carvings in the fetish tradition. We have just completed posting them Delbert's pages at ZuniLink. Some of our favorites are a slim, supple and subtle lizard carving in pale pipestone.
Then there is this double eagle in pipestone.
For a change of pace, Delbert carved a mule (or donkey) from one of his favorite materials, slate.
How about this horse in pink and white marble?

Delbert is a Lakota Sioux and very spiritual person. We are thrilled to have more of his carvings to share with our loyal customers.

But his pieces tend to move out fast. So hesitate at your own risk.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In Search of Sammy Smith, Navajo carver

It started before we traveled to Santa Fe this year.

A customer told us that she had seen a carving by Sammy Smith that she was interested in buying but it had already been sold by the store where she was shopping.

We were slightly acquainted with Sammy’s work but it was the result of the rare carving of his that we picked up through trusted third-party wholesalers.

Based on her request, we set out to find Sammy Smith, introduce ourselves personally and purchase a carving similar to the one the customer was looking for.

We finally found Sammy (pictured here) in Gallup, New Mexico, at small workshop on Route 66. (The legendary Route 66, where millions have gotten "their kicks", runs through the heart of Gallup.)

We walked into a veritable feast of carvings, each one more fascinating than the last. Once we started, we put aside dozens of carvings. We were particularly struck by his horses.

We have several collectors who are horse lovers. A few of them asked us to look for horse carvings that they could add to their collections. Sammy Smith gave us a big head start.

Here are a few examples of Sammy Smith’s wonderful carvings:

We start with Sammy Smith's statuesque Picasso marble horse.

Not a horse, but how clever is this pipestone donkey by Sammy Smith?

Rainbow calsilica forms a Sammy Smith owl with incredible "camouflage".

Sammy Smith is a stand-up guy when it comes to this Picasso marble turtle.

Sammy Smith had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as marble.

These and other carvings by Sammy Smith can be found in more variation and with complete details about size and price at

When you visit, be sure to click through to Sammy's second and third pages as well.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Native American Fetish Carvings at ZuniLink

ZuniLink has added a number of new fetish carvings by noted Zuni, Navajo and San Felipe carvers.

There are several new items by Lynn Quam,

Argite buffalo by Lynn Quam

and more by his wife, Jayne.

Fossil jasper coyote by Jayne Quam

New items have been posted from San Felipe Melvin Sandoval

Steatite eagle by Melvin Sandoval
and Navajo Sammy Smith.

Marble horse by Sammy Smith

Also, if you are a horse lover, check out the new horses on ZuniLink.

Soapstone by Zuni Hubert Pincion

And check in again for more additions. (It was a great buying trip last month.)

Thank you for your attention.

Canadian Dollars match US bucks

Recently, the value of the Canadian dollar equaled that of the US dollar, so that Canadians now can buy anything in America at the same rate as in Canada. So, if you live in Canada or know someone in Canada, please note that every item in our web sites, including our Arctic/Inuit pieces that were purchased when the US dollar bought more value, can be purchased on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The only limitation will be on art made from mammal parts. Those items can't be shipped out of the US, by regulation, without a special permit.

We welcome all our Canadian friends to shop our sites at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLInk, Native-PotteryLink and TribalWorks .

Thanks for your attention.

PS: The Australian dollar is not far behind. When we last visited Australia to buy Aboriginal art, the US dollar was worth less than 60 cents US. Now it is worth 86 US cents. That's like a 43% discount for anyone who is valuing a purchase in Australian dollars.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Calvin Begay Native American Indian jewelry posted

Back from Santa Fe for a week and we finally are getting some of our new acquisitions posted to the web site at Native-JewelryLink.

First up is a ton of bracelets, pendants, necklaces and earrings by noted Navajo jewelry maker Calvin Begay.

We met with Calvin in our hotel room in Gallup after running into him in Santa Fe. Normally, we would meet with him at A Touch of Santa Fe, his [former] company in Gallup. In Santa Fe, however, he told us he has parted company with TSF and now is operating on his own.

This means that any Calvin piece sourced from TSF should be very closely inspected. Is it signed by Calvin? Some residual designs (even those not signed by Calvin) still are coming through. But anything being offered from TSF hereafter may not be Calvin's work. That doesn't make it inferior. It just isn't Calvin's work, if that is what you want. Look very closely at the quality of the inlay and channel work.

We guarantee that any piece we sell as Calvin's is Calvin's and has either been acquired directly from him or certified by him as his work. Any purchaser who determines that a Calvin Begay piece he or she has purchased from us is not - in fact - a Calvin Begay piece, will receive a complete purchase price refund if he or she returns the item to us and lets us know within 10 days of receipt that he or she is doing so. We will even cover the return shipping under those circumstances.

Now, here are some samples of what you will find on Native-JewelryLink's Begay pages.Sterling silver horse pendant with inlaid turquoise, tiger eye, jasper, mother of pearl and
opal by Calvin Begay, Native American Navajo Indian jewelry maker

Sterling silver bear pendant with inlaid turquoise, shell, lapis and opal, reversing
to an etched silver scene on the back side, (see below) by Calvin Begay, master
Native American Indian jewelry maker from the Navajo Nation.

Sterling silver lizard pendant in a circular pattern with inlay of various turquoise varieties,
by Calvin Begay, Navajo Native American Indian jewelry maker

Kokopelli pendant in sterling silver with inlay of turquoise, shell, lapis and opal,
by Calvin Begay, Navajo Native American Indian jewelry designer.

Many more examples are available at the Native-JewelryLink website. Enter the search word "Begay" in the search field or scroll to the bottom of the page where the Begay pages are highlighted in green.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

ZuniLink acquires Jeffrey Tsalabutie's award-winning lapis bear carving

As previously announced in this blog, Jeffrey Tsalabutie's lapis bear carving won Best of Class and a First Place Blue Ribbon at the 2007 Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial competiton.

Now, ZuniLink is proud to announce that it has acquired this award-winning carving. It will shortly be added to the inventory at ZuniLink.

Photos are included below:

Pricing has not yet been determined.

Friday, August 31, 2007

What does it take to win an award at Indian Market

Not everyone artist who enters the Indian market awards program wins an award, although with Best of Classification Awards, First Place Awrds, Second Place Awards & Third Place Awards, there are plenty of opportunities for recognition.

We couldn't photograph them all. Here is a random selection of the top winners. (And, at the end, a look at the crowds and booths that fill the streets and plaza of Santa Fe for two days of Indian Market.)

More Best of Class winners at Santa Fe Indian Market

As promised, here is more visual information about the Best of Class winners that were not included in the original posting on the winners.

Here is a video of Melissa Darden's comments. She is a Chitimacha Indian and won in Basketry.

Here is a still close up of her award-winning basket.

Here's video of the presentation of Jamie Okuma's Best of Class Award.

Here are some stills of the wearing blanket.
Please note that the last photo, which shows Jamie's award-winning blanket on display in her Indian Market Booth, includes a photo from the Albuquerque Journal featuring Jamie's blanket being worn by her. Look closely at the photo in the newspaper and you will see yours truly, William Waites, standing in the background. (Proof that I was there?)

And here is the conclusion of the previous video with Chris Youngblood Cutler holding up his award-winning pot with stopper.

Finally, here is photo of Philander Begay, whose silver concho belt received the peer award as voted by other artists and only artists on the competition judging panel. Philander was not at the presentation so we are showing his photo here.

We hope you are enjoying these reports from Santa Fe.

We'll post more photos of winners that were excellent if not Best of winners.

We'll put those stills up shortly.

Thanks for your interest and attention.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

IACA Spring MArket set for April 10-12 in Albuquerque

The Indian Arts & Crafts Association has announced that its Spring Market will be held in the Creative Arts Building at Expo New Mexico (aka the FairGrounds) on April 10 through 12, 2007.

The first two days, Friday and Saturday, will be a wholesale show restricted to licensed resellers. Sunday's show will be open to the general public with prices adjusted to retail levels.

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person is a member of IACA and adheres to its standards of ethics and accurate representation of authentic Indian art goods.

Visit our web sites as linked in the sidebar.

Thank you.

National Museum of the American Indian Holiday Art Market

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will hold its annual Holiday Art Market on December 8th and 9th, 2007 at the NMAI on the National Mall, Washington, DC and at the George Gustave Heye Center in New York City.

Invitations have been issued for artists to participate, with a deadline for application of September 16, 2007.

Artists may download applications from the NMAI website.

If you can't make it to either holiday market venue as a buyer, try the websites at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLInk and Tribalworks to shop online with guaranteed authenticity and delivery before Christmas.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Putting the "WOW" in Pow Wow - at Santa Fe Indian Market clothing contest

One of the most popular events at Indian market is the native American clothing contest. It takes place in the Sunday morning of the last day of market at the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe.

Tribal members dress in traditional Pow Wow garb and regalia, and compete for cash prizes as judge by a distinguished panel of "experts". Winners are selected based on completeness of outfit, authenticity to the instant tribes traditions and general attractiveness.

As you look at these outfits, you might be tempted to say that they put the "WOW" in Pow Wow.

We offer the following videos, shot in two parts in order to meet the maximum length allowed by YouTube, where they are hosted. For more close-up stills, after viewing the videos scroll down tothe last preceding postings.

We hope you enjoy the show as much as we did. Of course, there is no substitute for being there. If you didn't make it this year, perhaps in 2008?

Here's part one.

Here's part two.

Thanks for your interest and attention from Susanne Waites and William Ernest Waites, proprietors of native American art web sites at Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. Come visit us.

What to wear to a Pow Wow... seen at the SWAIA 2007 Santa Fe Indian Market Native American clothing competition.

This is one of the highlights of Indian Market, taking place on Sunday morning, the last day of
the two-day event. Tribal members sign up to compete in the clothing and regalia of their tribes. They are judged by a panel of "experts" for completeness, authenticity, attractiveness and ingenuity.

Here are some photographs of the event, with commentary were helpful. The first of the photos relate to the youth divisions. So precious...

They were followed by the young girls as shown below Here we have the front and back views of a particularly complex young woman's outfit

Here the MC points to a "cactus kicker" toes on the moccasins of a young woman, explaining that were included in order to allow the wearer to kick away a particular ball-shaped desert cactus with toxic needles.
Here come the outfits of the more mature women. The outfit on the far left includes rows of tin cones that rattle when the wearer dances. Next to her is a complex outfit that is described by the wearer in the video that precedes this posting. In the center, is a woman whose outfit includes - on her right hand shoulder - a group of patches of military units stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In her description, which we failed to record, she speaks of a trip to Iraq to visit the troops and how they reacted with gratitude for her desire to display unit their insignias and her support for the troops. To paraphrase, she said the only thing they asked was not to be forgotten.
Here is a row of the male contestants in full regalia. Missing from this photo, but apparent in the one that follows is one Cherokee who competed dressed in the uniform of a Cherokee brave who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.And, of course, every competition must have a "Best of Show" award. Here they are.

We hope you enjoyed this brief journey into the colorful and historic world of native American Indian clothing. Eventually, we will post additional photos to our web sites at TribalWorks, ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink and Native-PotteryLink. Thank you. William
Ernest Waites and Susanne Waites.