Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 13 Native American Art Events in early 2009

Native Trails: A Celebration of Native American Culture through song, dance, art and food. Scottsdale, (AZ) Civic Center Mall,

January 15 – April 11, 2009

Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market – Heard Museum, Phoenix (AZ),

March 7 – 8, 2009,

Annual Navajo Weaving Show – Old Territorial Indian Arts, Scottsdale (AZ),

March 5-6-7, 2009,


Native American Art Festival – Litchfield Park (AZ),

January 10-11, 2009

Colorado Indian Market – Merchandise Mart, Denver (CO),

January 23-25, 2009

Texas Indian Market – Arlington Convention Center, Arlington (TX),

April 3-5, 2009,

World Championship Hoop Dance Contest – Heard Museum, Phoenix (AZ)

February 7-8, 2009,

Tribal & Textile Arts Show – Fort Mason Center, San Francisco (CA),

February 13-15, 2009

Sa’heh’wa’mish Days – Little Creek Casino Resort, Shelton (WA),

February 20-21, 2009,

Marin Indian Art Show – Marin Civic Center, San Rafael (CA),

February 21-22, 2009,

Southwest Indian Art Fair – Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona,Tucson (AZ),

February 21-22, 2009,

Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival – Santa Fe Convention Center, Santa Fe (NM),

May 23-24, 2009,

Tulsa Indian Art Festival – SpiritBank Event Center, Tulsa (OK),

February 13, 14, 15, 2009,


Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Welcome Letter From Washington, D.C.

While the letter, from the Federal Trade Commission, U. S. Department of the Interior, was addressed to "Dear Sir or Madam," we considered the letter quite formal. We also considered it good news.

It announced that the FTC is working with Indian Arts and Crafts Board to enforce provisions of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

We received the letter because the FTC found our web sites – all four of them apparently – on the Internet. That’s good news.

The letter was to remind us – and others we presume – that items offered for sale as American Indian-made or Alaska Native-made must have been made in fact, by Native American Indians or Alaskan Natives.

The letter goes on to state, “…it is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced , an Indian product or the product of a particular Indian tribe. Under the Act, Indian is defined as a member of a federally or officially State recognized Tribe, or as a formally certified non-member Indian artisan of the federally or officially State recognized Tribe of their descent.”

The Federal Trade Commission Act also prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce.” Enforcement actions have been brought against “persons and businesses selling art works through false representations about artists, about authenticity of the works, or about the investment attributes of the art work.”

We applaud this newly aggressive approach to protecting buyers and discouraging fraudulent sellers. As dealers who always have refused to sell items that we cannot verify as Indian or Alaskan made without specifying that they are NOT Native-made, we are happy to see the Feds actively doing their duty.

An environment in which buyers and collectors can trust that the people who sell to them are telling the truth and promising the reality about art as an investment is good for everyone.

That being true, it is also true that frauds and charlatans will continue to try to cheat the law and their customers. It is up to all of us to call them out. If you purchase an item under what you consider to have been false premises, let the seller know. It may simply be a mistake. If it is, any legitimate dealer will refund your money, and relabel the item correctly.

If you see this behavior repeated, however, please contact the FTC so that the perpetrators may be prosecuted, and their fraudulent activities ended.

More information about the Indian Arts and Crafts Act can be obtained at The website also has a down-loadable brochure guide, “How to Buy Genuine American Indian Arts and Crafts.


This message is brought to you by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, with web sites at Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink, where you can trust that you are buying the real thing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vintage Seminole doll collection in Seminole basket

We have long carried Seminole dolls on our web site at Slowly that collection has wound down to a handful. All are fewer than 20 years old.

Recently, a collection of smaller, hand-made Seminole dolls came into our possession. The source we acquired them from, John Isaacs of Albuquerque, was unable to be precise about the dates of origin, but he felt they were rather old. We agree. Probably done in the 1980s. While not antique, that's a respectable age for this kind of object.

Actually, we should say, "these kinds" of objects, since there are seven of them. They range in size from 3" high to 8" high. The bonus is that they came into our house in a Seminole sweetgrass basket, with doll's head attached to the lid.

We acquired the set, a sort of seven sisters of the swamp, for our personal collection. Since almost everything we offer to other collectors was originally purchased for our collection, it would not be out of character to offer this charming sisterhood to another buyer.

We have priced the set at $325. But ask us about it if you are interested. We might have some wiggle room in there.


All the best of the holiday season to you and all those you love, from William Ernest Waites, Susanne Waites and our web site friends at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink and Native-PotteryLink.

May peace descend on your home and family with each setting sun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Wilson Romero Cochiti carved Nativity Set

How fitting is this for the season?

We just received a newly carved Nativity set from Cochiti Pueblo carver, Wilson Romero.

We have carried Wilson's Nativity Sets and other carvings for years.

He and his wife, Annette, are two of our favorite artists. We are regular visitors to their home on Cochiti Pueblo, where they are very gracious hosts.

This new set is some of his best work.12 pieces are included: Mary, Joseph, Jesus in the crib, three wise men, a buffalo, horse, bear, ram, camel and mountain lion.

We have just posted it to the web site at $660. If you purchase it this Christmas season and mention seeing it on the blog, you can put in your home for just $550 plus shipping (and tax, if you are a Florida resident) a $110 saving.

Thank you for your support this year. We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy, prosperous New Year.

William and Susanne Waites, proprietors,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Honoring All Warriors - Renninger's Mt Dora

Thundering Spirit Powwow has been scheduled for February 27, 28 and March 1, 2009 at Renninger's Twin Markets in Mt. Dora, Florida. If you have never been to Renninger's and Mt. Dora, that is a trip in itself. But this Powwow looks to be real winner. For more information, visit .

We'll be there too. Look for us. William and Susanne Waites,

Cape Coral Florida Native American Art Gathering

As collectors and dealers in Native American material culture (ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink and Native-PotteryLink ), if Sue and I know of a Native American Indian exhibit within 50 miles of me, I will attend. This was the first time for an event in Cape Coral, Florida, last weekend. As a first time event, it was modestly impressive and successful.

The crowd grew over the course of the day - this was day one of a two-day booking. By the time I left , a couple hundred people had come by.

There were perhaps 20 booths by Native American artists. One of them hosted Rex A. Begaye, a Navajo (Dine) native. Begaye was one of, if not the primary, organizer of this show.

The roped off dance area, where Grand Entry of the artists took place accompanied by the songs and drum of a Native American group, was MC'd by Ric Bird.

The Grand Entry was followed by Native American fancy dancers.

One of the highlights was an encampment of a family of Cree Indians from Saskatchewan,

The woman explained the dances by her children while the father drummed and sang dance songs.
The setting included a traditional lodge or tipi. The mother explained that the tipi is assembled by the woman at each new encampment and is her property, as is all of the tipi's contents.

Trapped furs and bead work, some of it quite intricate, were on display, The woman was very proud of her work, her family (8 children) and her heritage.
Her explanations of life as a Plains Indian were enlightening. It's a beautiful thing and a shame more youngsters were not there to learn about this interesting subject.

This show now has closed. But the organizers say they will be back next year. They also have a show planned for Sarasota, FL after the first of the year. It's worth a little research to find it and place a hold on the day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eiteljorg Museum Acquires Multi-Million-Dollar Art Collection

Indianapolis - December 15, 2008

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art has announced the gift of the Helen Cox Kersting Collection of Southwestern Cultural Arts, a multi-million-dollar collection of nearly 800 objects, including the best of Southwestern pottery, jewelry and other objects. The collection will be the basis of a forthcoming book and an exhibition in 2010.

“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this collection to the field of Native American art and specifically to the Eiteljorg Museum. The Helen Cox Kersting Collection is profoundly important to both,” says John Vanausdall, president and CEO, Eiteljorg Museum. “This stunning group of objects will expand the breadth and depth of the Eiteljorg’s holdings of Southwest materials to a dramatic degree and will enrich the museum visitor’s experience for generations to come. We are grateful for Helen’s generosity, and her trust in the Eiteljorg Museum to be the steward of her life’s work and passion.”

Helen Cox Kersting and her collection:

Helen Kersting is a native of Belleville, Illinois and a graduate of the Millikin University School of Music (Decatur, Illinois) and attended the Juilliard School of Music (New York City) debuting with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein. A mezzo soprano, she went to the Cologne, Germany Opera on a four-year contract, met and married Dr. Hans Joachim Kersting and resided in Cologne until her husband’s death in 1999.

Kersting is a devoted collector of the best of Southwestern pottery, jewelry, weavings, baskets and other Native American objects. She began collecting as a child, on travels to the American West with her parents. Throughout her life, she has developed knowledge and a strong sense of connoisseurship

The Kersting jewelry collection of over 300 items includes belts, boxes, rings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, earrings, bolo ties, hair pins and cufflinks. There are pieces older than the use of artist signatures or hallmarks whose origins are still being researched. Zuni examples by master artists Leo Poblano, Leekya, John Gordon Leak and Dan Simplicio are notable. Many of these examples came originally from the historical collection of trader C. G. Wallace. Among the great jewelers represented in the collection are Charles Loloma, Carl Clark, Vernon Haskie, Denise Wallace, and many others. Elegant silver and turquoise examples abound and there are many high art pieces in silver and gold with opal, coral, diamonds, and other materials.

Kersting has been very focused in the creation of her pottery collection of nearly 400 items. A number of prehistoric coiled jars came from her parent’s acquisitions of the 1920s and 1930s, along with quite a few baskets. Historic period San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Zuni, Zia, Santo Domingo, Cochiti and Maricopa pieces ad significantly to the Eiteljorg collection. While the Eiteljorg has a few pots by Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso, the Kersting collection includes an expansive grouping of Maria’s work in different forms and colors, several with her potter son Popovi Da. Kersting has systematically collected the work of extended families of potters and the list of major pieces reads like a blue book of Southwestern potters. Included are Sarafina, Nampeyo of Hano, Paqua Najo, Gloria Kahe, Les Namingha, Rainy Naja, Dora TsePe, Mary Cain, Margaret Tafoya, Tammy Garcia, Autumn Borts, Daisy Hooey Nampeyo, Steve Lucas, Sharon Naranjo Garcia, Joy Navasie, Jacob Koopee, Helen Cordero, Virgil and Inez Ortiz, Desideria, Tonita Roybal, Susan Folwell, Grace Medicine Flower, Nathan Youngblood, Nancy Youngblood, Roxanne Swentzell, Rondina Huma, Tony Da, Jody Naranjo, Carmelita and Carlos Dunlap and many others.

Kersting, who currently lives in Arizona, says, “I have pursued my search for the final custodianship of my cherished Native American collection for a couple of years. The objects always meant very much to my late husband and me. I’d like to tell you of the extraordinary generosity of my German engineer, in whose memory I gift this collection, of his willingness to fly to the US almost every vacation, of spending large sums of money for the acquisition of things originally outside his European and even technical sphere. It is no wonder this intimacy of collecting-devotion earns a special future where it can demonstrate it character and content and be a learning tool of Native Art history for years to come. Simply, I felt and feel all of my hopes could be fulfilled by the Eiteljorg with its vigorous ‘young museum’ mentality.”

The acquisition of the Kersting collection represents a watershed moment as the Eiteljorg Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009 and looks toward the future.

Says James Nottage, Eiteljorg Museum vice president and chief curatorial officer, “What makes the Kersting collection so valuable and unique is “that it demonstrates both tradition and innovation in Southwestern native arts by providing important examples from multiple generations of individual families of artists. Through their magnificent work we gain better understanding of how their tribal cultures have survived and thrived.”

President John Vanausdall adds, “With acquisition of the Kersting Collection, the museum will devote more energy to collecting and interpreting traditional contemporary arts of Native North America. Through artist in residence programs and our annual Indian Market and Festival, we are bringing living traditions to the museum. As a result of Helen Kersting’s generosity, we can present objects that bear testimony to on-going and developing traditions.”

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The museum, which opened in 1989, is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call (317) 636-WEST (9378) or visit


Brought to you by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, and websites at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, and Native-PotteryLink.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How and why Native American Nativity Sets have a place in the home and the heart.

(All the Nativity Sets featured in this article are offered at 10% discount until Christmas Day. The reduction will be removed from the listed price at the time your order is processed.)

Despite the increasing secularization of the Christmas holidays, from xmas trees to frosty snowmen to solstice promotions, one event remains at the core of Christmas celebrations.

Without the birth of the Christ child, there would be no Christmas. There could easily be a Festivus and Winter Carnivals. But would they have the deep spiritual connection with adherents that Christmas does. It’s doubtful. I find it hard to get excited about the first day of winter. How about you?

Whether you accept this premise or not, you can understand that for the faithful the power of Christmas emanates from the magic and majesty of the babe’s appearance in a humble manger that night.

Little wonder then that the Nativity scene has become such an enduring and beloved symbol of Christmas. How did it all begin? Legend has it that St. Francis conceived the idea of a manger scene to honor the birth of Christ.

Of course, depictions in art of the event go back before the 1200s, when St Francis is said to have first created a nativity scene with animals and people. That was the supposed beginning of a tableau tradition that reached out across the seas, over the centuries and among cultures to appear in Christmas celebrations around the world.

Nativities became integral parts of family celebrations and, indeed, in some ways, part of the family. Manger scenes have different names in different cultures. Creche (France), Crib (England), Krippe (Germany), Presepio (Italy), Belem (Portugal), Szopka (Poland) and Nacimento (Spanish) are among the words used to describe Nativity scenes.

The latter term migrated with the Spanish Catholic missionaries into the American Southwest in the 18th Century, where Native Americans adopting Christian beliefs picked it up. It was used alternatively with the English language word, “Nativity”, to refer to displays representing and recreating the event and place of Jesus’ birth.

This, in turn, evolved into miniature Nativity sets created by Native American artists. They feature Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the company of beasts, shepherds, wise men and, occasional angels,. These usually are formed in pottery. They take on the style and artistic tradition of the potter’s tribal background.

Andrew Rodriquez of Laguna does typically abstract presentations.

Margaret Mirabel and Juanita Martinez of Taos
do more realistic figures.

Santa Clara potters, such as Paul & Dorothy
Gutierrez, Rose Brown, Maxine Naranjo,
adhere to their distinctive clays and slips
of their pueblo.

Annette Romero of Cochiti has her own
unique style.

The potters of Jemez; Sabaquie,
Marie Toya
, Trujillo and the Fraguas,
create Nativity sets in the common
coloration and clay for which
their pueblo is known.

The Fraguas, Jay, Linda and Felicia,
step out even further, creating Nativity
sets around creatures such as bears and mice.

This is not an act of disrespect, although it may reflect the mixed reverence that Native Americans have in regard to Christianity. It is, more likely, a blending of Native beliefs in nature and a Native sense of humor about the superhuman character of Nativity stories.

In any event, they are unique smile-makers representing an event that is all about joy.

In addition to pottery sets, Native American carvers are creating Nativities from carved materials.

Wilson Romero of Cochiti creates
rough cut Nativity figures from
stone and rocks found on the
ground of his pueblo.

Zuni, Troy Sice, carves Nativity figures
from antler.

Many traditions surround Nativity set displays. Some owners add pieces as the Christmas season progresses, timing the additions to the legendary Christmas calendar. Others reserve Christmas Eve for placing the babe in the scene. Families have been known to collect Nativity sets piece by piece over a number of years. The buyer of a Native American Nativity set, however, gets the entire set in one purchase.

There are protocols associated with the display according to some experts. The typical set has a minimum of five pieces. Included are Mary, Joseph, Jesus and two more animals. The wise men make another three pieces. There can be one or more shepherds in addition to or in the place of the wise men. Sometimes the babe and cradle are one piece. Sometimes they are separate pieces. We have owned and sold Nativity sets with as many as 17 pieces, made up mostly of secondary figures, such as animals.

Positioning the members of the set generally starts with the Christ Child as the centerpiece. Closest to him is Mary, his mother. Joseph is usually placed close to the babe but on the other side from Mary. According to one source, Joseph may also be placed away from Jesus, looking in the opposite direction, representing the aspect of doubt in Christian faith. Secondary figures, such as wise men (kings) and shepherds, should be placed in concentric circles behind the Holy Family, with the shepherds closest because they were on the scene before the arrival of the Wise Men. Animals should be placed near the babe, reflecting the humbleness of his birth. Angels, if included, are usually placed above or behind he Holy Family.

Most of all, the Nativity Set is a personal celebration of the birth of Christ and a reflection of the faith and artistic appreciation of the owners. Display it in your home as you see fit.


The author, William ErnestWaites, thanks and acknowledges the following articles, which were used in researching this subject;;;;;

Please note that the links above connect to enlarged presentations of Nativity Sets by those artists.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Historical Use of Zuni Fetishes

This guest post was written by Zoe Lancaster, a writer and analyst for MBA Admission Essay Blog

With the increasing interest in Zuni crafts, particularly Zuni fetishes, perhaps it's just right to delve on the roots of these masterpieces before they became collectibles. And it's interesting to note that these historical uses of Zuni fetishes have modern followers.


Traditionally, fetishes were found items, not crafted objects. The Zuni people believed that these stones were spiritual manifestations of the animals they resembled. As such, these fetishes contained the powers and characteristics of these animals.
These fetishes were not worshiped as idols, as some early missionaries thought. In fact, these items were merely messengers to the gods and spirits. They assisted in the Zunis' communication with the divine. This can be likened to praying or meditation, wherein channels are used for clearer and more effective spiritual conversation.

Using Zuni fetishes

To begin to use fetishes, the item can be held by the hands. These can also be placed in front. Prayer and meditation
begins. The person needs to keep in mind the intrinsic qualities of the animal symbols before him or her. This is the best way to channel the fetish's most powerful qualities. As Tom Bahti, renowned anthropologist, puts it, they are used to "assist man, that most vulnerable of all living creatures, in meeting the problems that face him during his life. Each fetish contains a living power which, if treated properly and with veneration, will give its help to its owner."

Within the web of life

Among the different animal fetishes, the holiest are those that have the least relation to man. Say, for example, one has dog and snake fetishes. The snake fetish is deemed more holy because of its distance from man. The dog, on the contrary, lives with man and is therefore closer to man than the divine.
Of all animal fetishes, perhaps it is the bear, which is the most valued mediator between man and the divine. This stems from the physical attribute of the animal, as it closely resembles man. At the same time, it is distant to man, and survives life closer to the divine because of its mystery and power. Because of these two traits, tradition values the bear fetish as one of the best channels between man and the gods.

When carving fetishes began

When the tradition of carving fetishes began, this was first deemed as less powerful than found fetishes. Of these carved items, those done by people who have special wisdom of the healing and spiritual powers of fetishes were said to have greater powers.
The sizes of fetishes vary; although typically, one can find them in lengths between three and twelve inches. Each of these carved crafts is a manifestation of the animals they represent. They may have heads of humans, serpents and other animals. Its legs and arms can either be etched or carved. The body of these crafts is made of either stone, clay, shell or bones. Other materials can be used, although these are more seldom. They are made more potent by etchings and symbols on the fetish or the jars they inhabit.

Regardless of the owner's background, Zuni fetishes must be cared for and valued as they traditionally deserve.
Many Zunis and even outsiders still believe that these crafts are ways toward spiritual upliftment. These traditions should be respected, if not practiced.
Thank you to our guest blogger, Zoe Alexander, for her excellent explanation of Zuni fetish carvings and their relation to owners. William Ernest and Susanne Waites, proprietors of Here's an example of a typical crafted Zuni bear fetish carving:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tribal Art Events in 2009

The Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association has issued a calendar of tribal art and other art events scheduled for 2009.

Here are those included for January and February.

January 21-25 - Fourteenth Annual Los Angeles Art Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall A, 1201 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles CA 90015. 310-822-9145.

February 6-8 - High Noon Western Americana Show & Auction at Phoenix Convention Center Exhibit Hall F & G, 33 S. Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004. 310-202-9010.

February 13-15 - San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion.

February 13-16 - Annual O'Odham Tash Indian Arts Festival at Casa Grande, AZ.

February 16 - Bonhams' Native American, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Auction at Bonhams and Butterfields, 220 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103. 415-861-7500.

February 21-22 - 25th Marin Show: Art of the Americas at Marin Civic Center and Embassy Suites Hotel, San Rafael, CA

If you're in the area of any of these events, it will be worth your time to visit.

This message is brought to you by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, member of ATADA and host of tribal art web sites at ZuniLink (Native American fetish carvings), Native-JeweleryLink (featuring a wide range of authentic Native American jewelry creations), Native-PotteryLink (with authentic hand coiled and formed Pueblo pottery) and TribalWorks (offering a art from Africa, Australia and the Arctic). Visit us at your leisure.

Our Glass Corn Maiden by Ira Lujan

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Tribal Eye

If you missed it on TV, we found a You Tube video of Richard Attenborough's renowned presentation entitled the Tribal Eye. This episode (Number V)focuses on the people of Dogon and the Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali. It runs for several minutes. But you always can come back to it at this blog.

It's presented in the interest of heightened awareness of the world of African Tribal Art by William and Susanne Waites, proprietors of the web site, Tribal Works.

Hat tip to geneofisis.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Avoid Online Scams When You're Shopping for the Holidays

Periodically, we read informative independent points of view that we think may be helpful for our readers. This one was from Trend Micro, purveyors of online virus and malware protection software.

"Every year we see staggering new statistics about how many people are buying gifts online instead of braving traffic, long lines, and parking nightmares at brick-and-mortar stores. During the holidays, many online retailers will also offer breaks on shipping costs—so the advantages of less physical hassle, no sales tax, and potentially free or cheap shipping make online shopping pretty appealing. However, the risks involved in online shopping are persistent as ever. Here are a few key ways you can protect yourself.

1. Use a virtual account number. This is a service that most credit cards now offer. Here's how it works: Log onto your credit card account and with one click you can generate a random credit card number that makes it virtually impossible for anyone to steal your account number while shopping online. When your virtual number is generated, simply enter it into the merchant's form and complete your purchase without revealing your actual card number. This virtual credit card number is only valid for a short period of time-long enough for the retailer to process your transaction, which will be charged to your real credit card account. But if a retailer stores that number and a hacker later breaks into their system, the number will be useless. Please note: Virtual account numbers cannot be used for purchases that require you to show your credit card at time of pick-up (e.g., movie tickets, etc.), because the account numbers will not match.

2. Make sure you're shopping on a secure site. Look for the padlock icon or a URL that starts with https://. That means your transaction is encrypted.

3. Don't trust emails from "retailers" claiming you need to verify your credit card information. This is almost certainly a scam. Every year millions of emails go out from hackers pretending to be eBay or PayPal customer service and asking consumers to provide information that the actual service already possesses. If you're worried that a retailer really has failed to process your order, go to the site and look up your account or contact their customer service center—don't click on a link in email that could redirect to a dummy site."


Aboriginals: Art of the First Person brings you this message in anticipation of the Christmas season, as the owners of online sites that offer Native American carvings (ZuniLink), Native American Indian jewelry (Native-JewelryLink), pueblo pottery (Native-PotteryLink) and African, Australian and Arctic tribal art (TribalWorks). We guaranteed both the authenticity of and your satisfaction with any item purchased from our websites. We have been involved in tribal art collecting and selling for 30 years. We welcome your orders via our secure (https) order form.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Australia, the film, debuts.

With great hoopla, the new epic film by Australian director, Baz Luhrman, was released in Australia this week.

We mentioned the film in a previous, pre-release article discussing it's relationship to Australian tourism efforts.

At the time, we joined a group of pre-nascent critics who were concerned, not about the film, but about its effectiveness as a tourism marketing tool.

Now, the film is in theaters in Australia and will shortly be released in the US.

Film critics give the feature mixed reviews. The Australian newspaper summarizes with, "Yet for all its flaws -- and Australia is not the masterpiece we hoped it might be -- the film is easy to take. This is partly because it looks so magnificent, partly because Luhrmann's vision is so stimulating and partly because the actors are, for the most part, so engaging in their roles."

The critic observes that the film appears to have been made more for overseas audiences, principally American, than for Australian audiences, containing cliches that make Australian audiences cringe or chuckle.

For the complete review in the Australian newspaper, visit this link -,,24671640-16947,00.html

Tribal Artery's interest in this film springs from proprietors Bill Waites and Susanne Waites' affection for Australia, where we once lived, and our engagement with Australian Aboriginal art at We hope the movie reflects the truth about Aboriginal culture that will increase understanding and appreciation among a worldwide audience.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ZuniLink offers free shipping to military addresses ( ) announces a special offer to people who want to send healing and protective holiday gifts to friends and loved ones in the military.

We will ship gifts of Zuni fetish carvings to any military address at no charge. Also included are shipments to domestic addresses of members of the armed services.

“We think it is especially appropriate at this time of giving and gratitude to offer this free service. As collectors of Zuni fetishes know, they are considered by Native Americans to possess special powers of protection and healing.

“Whether or not the recipient shares Zuni beliefs in special powers, the fact of the gift manifests a material wish for good health, protection and power to the person receiving it. We are happy to pay our thanks to those who guard the ramparts by offering free shipping.”

More information about the offer and the special qualities of Zuni fetish carvings can be found at the ZuniLink website ( )


Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, the parent company of is a member of the Lee County (FL) Alliance for the Arts, the Indian Arts and Crafts Association and the Southwestern Association for Indian Art. Orders may be placed online or by phoning 239-482-7025 or 800-305-0185.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A monumental chorus of Zuni corn maidens

Whilst in New Mexico, we acquired this remarkable fishrock carving by Terrence Martza, a Zuni fetish carver. Eight corn maidens, adults and children, stand side-by-side and back-to-back, with turquoise and coral adornment and a large bowl of turquoise fragments. The full size is 5 inches high, by 5 inches wide, by 3 inches deep.

It is so monumental that we decided to do something a little different and videograph it on a turntable, so you can see all sides in one sweep.

We've also added a single still shot since, upon looking at the result, the focus seems to be poor on the video camera image. But you can still make out the ladies and the work.

Let us know what you think, please.

Susanne and William Waites, Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, with web sites at ZuniLink, TribalWorks, Native-PotteryLink and Native-JewelryLink

Ira Lujan

A while back Susanne and I ran a video of Ira Lujan, the Taos glass sculptor, at work in his studio. (You'll find it in the archives, I think.) We have come to know him and have purchased his work, which we offer at Native-PotteryLink (on the Taos page. As with most of the artists we meet and deal with, Ira is a true artist and is dedicated to his art. We are pleased and proud to count him among our friends.

Now, we have a video that we shot in Santa Fe while watching Ira at work creating a our Corn Maiden. Unfortunately, we ran out of footage before the piece exploded. And we were not there when it was recreated.

Here, however, are some scenes from the workshop as Ira and his helper worked the ovens and the glass. It's about 8 minutes long. I think you will find it interesting and worth your time.

Now, here is a video of the final piece. It is even more gorgeous in person.

This is Florida. This is living.

When customers call us for the first time, they are surprised to learn that we live on the Gulf coast of Florida. Much of what we sell comes from elsewhere: Africa, Australia, the Arctic and, of course, the American Southwest. Since we can't live all those places, we live somewhere that we love.

So here is brief look at why we live where we live, although we spend part of the year in the Southwest and travel elsewhere when not at home.

Anyway, this was one morning in in June as seen from our lanai. I hope you enjoy it.

Pretty idyllic, eh?

William and Susanne Waites, Aboriginals: Art of the First Person with web sites at Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, ZuniLink and TribalWorks.

PS: Watch the birdie. It's an anhinga. It flies at the end of the video.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Emery Boone, Zuni fetish carver, joins our inventory

News about Tribal Art from William Ernest Waites, proprietor of, a web site featuring the carvings of top Zuni fetish makers.

During our recent Santa Fe trip, we acquired a number of new carvings by Emery Boone.

Emery Boone is known for his execution of an ancient Zuni fetish technique, inlay of
traditional iconographic designs in jet and pipestone.

One of these designs incorporates turquoise in a motif known as the Chaco pattern. It is usually used in conjunction with frogs, where it spans the back. Frogs are associated with abundance related to being harbingers of rain and moisture.
Another design also relates to the benefits of rain. It manifests itself as a cloud with rain descending and appears on both the backs of frogs, when the Chaco design isn't used , and on the side of other creatures.

Third is the familiar heart line. It occasionally appears in Emery's work in conjuntion with the raincloud design.
There is no question that Emery Boone has a style that is pretty much his own and easy to distinguish.

We have posted a several of his new jet and pipestone carvings to our ZuniLink web site on two pages devoted exclusively to his work.
Take a look by clicking here. Be sure to click the link to page two while you are there.

Discover the Inuit Art Society

The latest in Tribal Art as reported by William Ernest Waites, proprietor of Tribal Art web sites at,, and

"Living is learning"

I don't know who said this, so I will take credit for it.

Today's lesson was the existence of an organization devoted to the study, appreciation and exchange of information about Inuit art. It's web site ( says it was founded in 2003 and centers its activities in the geographic area of most of its members, the upper mid-western USA. There are said to be about 100 current members.

The news is the Inuit Art Society is holding its annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN from November 14th through the 16th. The meeting is being held at the Eiteljorg Museum in conjunction with the opening of a show of Inuit art at the Peabody Museum, entitled "Our Land".

We are told that the keynote speaker will be Lorne Balshine, president of the Arctic Art Museum Society of British Columbia. He will discuss the evolution of Inuit art, including observations from 30 years of watching Inuit art auctions at Waddington's.

An inukshuk will be built on the museum grounds by Peter Imiq, who also will demonstrate drum dancing. Kendra Tagoona and Charlotte Qamaniq will demonstrate throat-singing.

Membership in the Inuit Art Society is offered to all who share the organization's mission and interests and agree to abide by its rules of conduct. Details about membership, including a downloadable application, and about registering for the Annual Meeting are available at the IAS web site.

Perhaps someone in the area who attends the meeting can post a report of the proceedings to Tribal Artery. Simply click the comments button.

(A tip of the tip hat to Uncle Gene at IndianInuitArt Group at Yahoo Groups and to his source, Bill Phillips, for letting us know about this.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Australian Aboriginal Art and Tourism - a good-bad fit

News from the world of tribal art from William Ernest and Susanne Waites, proprietors of TribalWorks, a website created by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person Gallery.

As someone who has had deep experience in, and deep affection for, both Aboriginal Art and tourism promotion, I was struck by a recent article from the Australia's Herald Sun.

It seems
a.) that Tourism Australia has launched a new television campaign, to the tune of AU$40 million, promoting travel to Australia by promoting the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture and the rejuvenating effect of experiencing it - or at least, the outback in which it is created, and b.) at least one self-appointed critic has decided to mock it.

I have not seen the commercials, which were directed by the same
Baz Luhrman who has directed the new feature flick, Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Such credentials should suggest a cinematic tour de force. And perhaps they will be.

The critic, however, takes Tourism Australia to task for using subject material that is obscure and remote. "Obscure" in that the settings for the commercial are parts of Australia that very few people have or ever will visit, comparatively speaking. "Remote" in that these places are very difficult to reach. No easy transportation will take you there from any major Australian port of arrival.

Now, I have lived in Australia, not in the outback but in a city every bit as cosmopolitan as cities anywhere in the world. I have traveled to the outback. More than once. It is a fascinating place. Although, it actually is so vast it is several places.

Getting there was anything but convenient.

I made the trip with Sue because of our pre-existing interest in Aboriginal art. Other than Ayers Rock (ULURU), a geologic oddity that has its own touristic attraction, I doubt that we would have traveled to many, if any of the outback locations, on a holiday. Even more doubtful that it would have been a destination we would have entertained for a holiday if we were not living in Australia.

On the one hand,
I applaud an effort that promotes awareness and appreciation of this unique culture and its stimulating art products. I hope more people get to know about Australian Aboriginal art and the beautiful, talented people who create it. As an investment in cultural awareness, it certainly can be justified.

On the other hand, as a tourism professional, I know what attracts visitors in large numbers. I am afraid that it is not the esoterica of remote out-lands and unknown cultures. Some people will be attracted by having their eyes opened to this different world. But enough to provide an ROI on AU$40 million? Doubtful.

Seems to me that this is a exercise in touristic self-indulgence and "look-at-how-enlightened-we-are" national expression. Perhaps, it is a form of emotional reparations for the years during which the European invaders of Australia abused the native population.

But, if the idea is to get more people to visit Australia, I share the critic' s opinion that the tried-and-true attractions of beaches, urban attractions, scenery and travel that is not quite so challenging - as offered by Crocodile Dundee (aka Paul Hogan) - are likely to be more fruitful.

That aside, I am be pleased that Australian taxpayers are spending their funds to promote Australian Aboriginal art - if only by association.

It should be good for all of us who already know the art and love it enough to seek it out for its own sake.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Six directions carvings by Brian Yatsattie, Zuni Pueblo, tribal art carver

Images of six directions sets by Brian Yatsattie are posted below.

While in Santa Fe earlier this summer, we encountered the work of Zuni Pueblo Carver, Brian Yatsattie. We had not carried his work before. We were struck by the appeal of his six directions sets carved from antler.

Then, as we walked through the Santo Domingo Pueblo Market, we turned the corner to find him sitting in his booth with his young child on lap.

We were able to convince him to wholesale some of his work to us. After returning to Florida, we received a phone call that he was ready to send us some of his six directions Zuni fetish sets. Three of them later arrived in the mail. We purchased two of them, the third being very similar.

One of the the sets portrayed the six protectors with robes and feathers carved into the bases.
The other set had the creatures wrapped in blanket-style robe carving.As background, six directions sets are carved by a few Zuni Pueblo carvers.

They include the eagle, protector of the sky; the bear, protector of the West; the mole, protector of the underworld; the badger, protector of the South; the mountain lion, protector of the North; and the wolf, protector of the East.

In Zuni belief, these animals represent the spiritual strength
and power of the ancients. To have them on your side, is to protect yourself from harmful influences.

The eagle brings spirit, vision, truth, and connection withthe Great Spirit.

The mountain lion stands for leadership, traveler protection and success at the hunt.

The bear represents strength of soul, inner power, introspection and healing.

The badger is known for aggressiveness and perseverance.

The wolf is considered the teacher, the pathfinder, the source of clarity and survival.

The mole protects the crops.

Recently, at our request for a taller set, Brian Yatsattie sent us another set of six directional animals. Whereas the first two sets stood about 3 1/2" tall, the new set's creatures are 7" tall.
Now, if you are interested in these sets, and in looking more closely at the individual pieces in each set, make a visit to our ZuniLink web site and click on the link to six directions carvings