Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

The time has come. We are just hours away from 2012. Time to wish all our friends the best for the coming year.

We hope you will find a place in your calendar to visit our websites and see what has been added in African Tribal Art, Native American jewelry, Native American Pueblo Pottery, Zuni fetish carvings and Arctic/Inuit art. We also have some "vintage" Australian Aboriginal art.

In any event, may your coming year be filled with the happiness of family, the prosperity of positive thoughts and the fascinations of tribal art

Susanne and William Waites

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here we go again - stolen art

The Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association reports another theft of Native American art.
See more here -
If these items cross your path from someone trying to resell them, they are stolen goods. Possession of stolen goods is a Federal offense. Please notify the authorities.

Aboriginals Gallery thanks you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Holiday Wish

All of us at Aboriginals; Art of the First Person, and our websites: TribalWorks, Native-American-Jewelry, Native-PotteryLink and ZuniLink wish you a splendid Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year. May 2012 be even better than we wish for.

Another ATADA Theft Alert

Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association has announced another threat alert.

This time it is for three items of Navajo jewelry stolen from a Santa Fe Gallery. View this alert at

If you encounter any of these items from resellers or at auctions, please report it ot the authorities. Possessing stolen property is a federal crime without a statute of limitation.

This message is brought to you by , a member of ATADA.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Will it get there in time?

That's a question we get a lot of at this time of year.

Folks buying gifts on line want some assurance that their purchase will arrive before Christmas.

Here are some guidelines.

USPS Priority gets delivered in 2 to 3 days. If you are shipping from one coast to the other, count on three days. USPS has announced that the last day for shipping to arrive pre-Christmas is December 21. If you want to track your shipment, there is a very small surcharge for a tracking number. Insurance also can be purchased, depending n the value of the package. You still might want to purchase a tracking number, because it one is not included with insurance.

UPS promises deliver in 5 to 7 days. UPS is more expensive but often a better service large or heavy packages.

And, of course, there always is FedEx. FedEx will deliver overnight. But you will pay for it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Less than a week to save 25% on Native American jewelry

Just as certain as Thanksgiving is this Thursday, this Saturday is November 26. That's the last day for the gigantic 25% off sale on all Native American Jewelry at

Everything in our completely authentic, top quality inventory is on sale at 25% off. The prices before the sale were 25% higher and they will be again when the sale ends.

Order now, save, and we can ship so you will receive your purchase in 3 to 5 days. Plenty of time for Christmas.

PS: If for some reason, your order form doesn't submit (computers do have glitches) call us at 1-800-305-0185 and we will take your order on the phone.

PS: Please follow us on Facebook.
Click on "like" to show you like to hear from us and you'll receive regular postings about news and new offers. Thank you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Sale on Native American Jewelry

As the Christmas holiday approaches at what appears to be break-neck speed, Native American Jewelry .org is announcing a major sale. Now through November 26, please take 25% off every item of Native American Jewelry you purchase from the web site.

Shopping is easy. Simply scroll through the dozens of pages, find the items you like and click on the "Order" button. Complete the order form and enter the code word, "Artery". The 25% discount will be taken when your order is processed.

You also can telephone us toll-free at 800-305-0185 to place your order. Many people prefer this way of ordering. That's fine with us. (We like to hear your voice.) It's also a good idea because, as the sale proceeds, items may be sold before you get to them. A phone call gives us a chance to check our inventory before you order.

We answer the phone between 9 am and 6 pm Eastern Time. Otherwise, leave a message in the voice mail and we will call you back within 24 hours - sooner if possible.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Thursday, November 03, 2011

If you are in Santa Fe during November 26 & 27, mark your calendar for this SWAIA Event. If not, check out the Native American art websites at, and

2011 Santa Fe
Winter Indian Market

Joy Harjo

Beautiful Artwork and Jewlery for Sale
Artist Demonstrators
Silent Auction
Two Performanaces by Joy Harjo
Raffle Prizes
Fashion Row

Native 101 Lecture

Early Bird Shopping and Native Art 101 Lecture
SWAIA Members Only

Saturday, November 26. 9:00 a.m.
Admission is $5 with a SWAIA Membership
For information on becoming a SWAIA Member, call Denise Keron
(505) 983-5220

Winter Indian Market Hours
Saturday, November 26, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (General Admission)
Sunday, November 27, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (General Admission)

General Admission is $5 Per Day
Tickets Available at the Door

Tickets and Performance Times for Joy Harjo

Includes Admission into Winter Indian Market
Saturday, November 26, 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m.
Advance Tickets Available (505) 983-5220

All events will take place at the Santa Fe Convention Center
(201 W. Marcy St. Santa Fe, NM 87501)

Artist Demonstrators

Award Winning Metalsmith
Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee/Seminole) Jeweler

2011 SWAIA Best of Show Winner
Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy) Basket Weaver

2011 Best of Classification Winner, Pottery
Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo) Potter

2011 SWAIA Residency Fellowship Winner
Ryan Lee Smith (Cherokee/Choctaw) Painter

2011 SWAIA Residency Fellowship Winner
Lisa Hageman Yahgulanaas (Haida) Weaver

Friday, October 28, 2011

One week closer to Christmas

At the risk of being repetitive, we will probably be issuing weekly reminders of the upcoming holiday and the wisdom of thinking about your gift purchases now.

If you have a friend or loved one who is fond of Native American things, our website featuring authentic Navajo jewelry is a great place to browse for a gift that will surprise and delight him or her.

Or consider the wide range of Zuni and other pueblo fetish carvings at our ZuniLink site. There are hundreds to select from. A gift of Zuni fetish culture carries with it a wish for good health and good fortune.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday

Institute of American Indian Arts Practices the Art of Sustainability

(SANTA FE, NM) - The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is showing its true color - green. The Institute recently certified two Gold and one Silver LEEDTM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings on its growing campus.

The achievement of the multiple LEED certifications is no small feat, but it aligns well with IAIA's objective to offer high quality educational programs on a sustainable campus. "It's a high performance building for a higher education campus," Myra Villalobos, LEED Accredited Professional at Dyron Murphy Architects, P.C. said.

It takes a lot of coordination and careful consideration to have a building LEED certified. Since the buildings are constantly in use, each building features smart design strategies to maximize energy efficiency and provide a comfortable working space for students and staff. "An educational facility creates a healthy environment for large groups of people," Dyron Murphy, the architect of the new buildings, said.

LEED is a standardized, point based rating system that determines how sustainable a building is. This system helps to determine building performance and is used as a guide for architects, engineers, and owners to meet sustainability goals. The architecture firm that designed the buildings, Dyron Murphy Architects, P.C., is a native-owned firm dedicated to sustainable design. They work closely with Native American entities throughout the United States to incorporate both LEED principles and native culture into their designs.

Since its establishment in 1962 as an institute for innovative artists and educators, IAIA has offered forward thinking approaches to Native American arts education. In 2000, the institute established its permanent location in Santa Fe, and has since constructed several new buildings. Recent LEED certified buildings include, the Center for Lifelong Education, Science and Technology, and Sculpture and Foundry building. This constitutes 60,000 square feet of new LEED certified art space. The most notable building is the Science and Technology building, featuring a state-of-the-art digital dome theater, new media labs, and conservation/science labs, along with the world-class Museum of Contemporary Native Arts' permanent collection.

Serving as a national center of excellence in contemporary Native arts, IAIA is committed to sustainable growth. In celebration of its recent LEED certification, the campus invites students, staff, and community members to its Open House event on November 4th, 2011 from 4:30 to 6:30pm on the IAIA Campus. The Open House is free and open to the public. There will be refreshments, art displays, guided tours, and demonstrations from students and staff. The campus is located at 83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe, NM.

This information has been forwarded by Aboriginals Gallery, owners of websites for Native American Pueblo Pottery, Native American jewelry and Zuni fetish carvings. Proud to support the IAIA

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In case you hadn't noticed...

We are seeing all kinds of signs that Christmas is coming. (I know. It comes every year.) That tells us it's time to step forward with news about Christmas and Native American art traditions. At, we have posted new Pueblo pottery Nativity sets and Native American Santa Claus story tellers.

Now is the best time to acquire one for your home, so you will have time to put it out as part of your Christmas decor and let your family and friends enjoy it before Christmas arrives. If you see something you like, let us know by phone (800-305-0185) or send an inquiry via the form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

PS: Don't be reluctant to use the toll-free number. We love to hear your voice.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Work by Salvador Romero, Cochiti

ZuniLink has added several new carvings by Cochiti carver Salvador Romero.

If you are a fan of Sal's fetish carvings or just curious about what a talented artist can do with rocks and stones he finds on the ground around his Cochiti Pueblo home, visit the web site by clicking the photo below.

Here's a sample.
PS: If you would like to meet Sal personally, via an internet video, here you go

Monday, August 29, 2011

SWAIA salutes Best of Show winner, Jeremy Frey

The 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market Best of Show Winner, Passmaquoddy basket weaver Jeremy Frey, has had an extraordinary year. The 32-year-old Maine resident also won the Best of Show prize at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market earlier this year, and it should be noted that he was recently awarded a $50,000 artist grant from the Los Angeles Based organization United States Artists.

The eighth-generation basket weaver may be familiar to Indian Market visitors. Frey was part of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance demonstrator’s booth at the 2009 Indian Market. The Alliance is an advocacy and educational organization that Frey has been involved with for years. In fact, Frey learned how to weave baskets from his mother Gal Frey at the age of 22, who was reintroduced to basket weaving at the Alliance. From drawing pictures as a child to his grade school declaration of wanting to be an artist when he grew up, Frey’s gift and skill as a basket weaver have reached a level unparalleled success.

“I’ve been doing it since day one. It seemed that it was what I should have been doing my whole life,” Frey says, “I thought to myself that if was going to be part of a group of basket weavers, then I wanted to do something to set my self apart…not distort the tradition, but refining what was already there.” Indeed, in a time when formal art training abounds, Frey finds inspiration for his sweet grass and black ash baskets from an internal place.

“What I find beautiful comes from within,” he says. Still, Frey is influenced from many sources. His extensive travels and his experiences weaving side-by-side with other basket weavers influence his own designs. Self-described as “traditional/contemporary” he uses locally harvested materials for his baskets, but designed and ultimately used in a different ways.

“There are times when I know what the shape and color are going to be and then I let it go from there…other times I have an exact image in my head of what I want to do.”

Weaving baskets may be, by some measures, a relatively accessible art form and art practice. By comparison, the tools and raw materials can literally grow from the ground until they are harvested and reshaped into something delicate and beautiful. Nevertheless, Jeremy Frey’s Best of Show Award from the Santa Fe Indian Market spotlights basket weaving's vast complexity and difficulty.

The correlation between the basket weaving and the cultural sustainability of his tribe and home cannot be adequately expressed. For a young man in the 21st century to be following a centuries-old practice, his achievement speaks incalculable volumes for all Native people expressing themselves through ancient art forms. "

Thanks to SWAIA for sharing this information

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mary Small, Jemez Pueblo Potter, shares a video moment.

We are very fond of all our artists, carvers, jewelry makers, folk artists and pottery makers.

Mary Small occupies a special place in that group of people we are privileged to call friends.

When we caught up with her at Indian Market this year, she agreed to let us record her on video, so you all could get to know her a little better.

We offer that video now.

We will be posting newly acquired Mary Small pueblo pottery to our web site after Labor Day. In the meantime, there are other pots by Mary Small and other pueblo potters to be seen there.


PS: If you frequent FaceBook, we would appreciate a "like" on our Native American Pueblo Pottery fanpage. Thank you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Todd Westika talks about his special chess set

One of the highlights at Indian Market in 2011 was a conversation with Todd Westika in which he told us about a special request he received from a deployed US serviceman for a custom designed chess set. It's an interesting story, as recorded on videotape (below)

Here's a still photo of the chess set, taken at Zuni.

We also acquired a number of
Todd Westika's new Zuni fetish carvings, which will be posted to our in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SWAIA announces winners in 2011 Indian Market artist competition

Friday night, August 19, Southwest Association for Indian Arts, stagers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market announced the winners in the annual artist and art competition.

Best of Show - Jeremy Frey for a PASSAMAQUODDY basket.
It also won best of classification in baskets, and had previously won in the Heard Museum Show.

Best of Classification / Moving Images - Bennie Klain, NavajoBest of Classification / Pottery - Jody Naranjo, Santa Clara
Best of Classification / Jewelry - Chris Pruitt, LAGUNA
Best of Classification / Diverse Arts - Jamie Okuma, SHOSHONE/LUISENO
Best of Classification / Pueblo Wooden Carvings - Arthur Holmes, HOPI
Best of Classification / Youth - Valerie Calabaza, SANTO DOMINGO (KEWA)
Best of Classification / Beadwork & Quillwork - Joyce Growing Thunder, SIOUX/ASSINIBOINEBest of Classification / Sculpture - Marcus Wall, JEMEZ
Best of Classification / Textiles - Linda Teller-Pete, Navajo
Innovation Award - Pat Pruitt, LAGUNA

Many other first, second and honorable mention ribbons were awarded. Too many to detail here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the Eve of Indian Market

We are in Santa Fe for the annual Indian Market weekend and will be reporting on our
experiences, including winners of the artist competition.

Tonight is the annual Wheelwright Museum silent auction. Always lots of fun and occasionally we actually win pieces at good prices. We'll let you know.

If you sign up for the RSS feed of TribalArtery, you will be notified the each time we post updates.

Just click on the RSS icon and select reader - Google Reader is a good choice.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Silver prices on the rise again

Native American Jewelry fans and buyers know that silver is a key metal used in their favorite objects of beauty. As prices of silver rise, prices of silver jewelry are likely to follow, as night follows day. We have commented on the situation in this article. The good news is that we are holding firm on our prices, many of which were set when silver prices were one-fourth of what they are today.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Opulence 7-11

The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Presents


A fashion show and sale featuring Orlando Dugi, Connie Tsosie Gaussoin, David Gaussoin, and

Wayne Nez Gaussoin

(SANTA FE, NM) Santa Fe, NM - The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) will present Opulence, taking place at the Museum Store and Lloyd Kiva New Gallery, 108 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe, NM. The show exhibition runs from August 5th through August 31st, 2011 with an opening reception on August 18th, 2011 from 4:00-7:00pm.

The exhibition will feature new work by Orlando Dugi, Connie Tsosie Gaussoin, David Gaussoin, and Wayne Nez Gaussoin.

Orlando Dugi referred to Opulence as "Going beyond monetary wealth projecting rich creativity, posh artistry, superior elegance, affluent innovation and above all creating a luxurious image."

MoCNA Gallery Hours:

Monday- Saturday 10:00AM- 5:00PM

Closed on Tuesdays

Brought to you Native American Indian Jewelry,

a website of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Santa Fe Indian Market Official Schedule

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts has issued the official events schedule for the 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market in August. We will attend and report on most of these events on this blog and on websites at ZuniLink, Native-American-Jewelry, TribalWorks and Native-PotteryLink

2011 Santa Fe Indian Market Week
Official Schedule of Events
August 15-August 21

Class X Film Screenings
Monday, August 15, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Free Admission

This special evening of film screenings features the work of Classification X winners. This is the tenth and one of the newest art classifications at Santa Fe Indian Market. Classification X is the moving images category. It is divided into four divisions: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation Short and Experimental Short. The Santa Fe Indian Market Awards Program invites art experts and collectors to Santa Fe to judge more than 1,000 artist entries and distribute over $70,000 in prize money in numerous categories to SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market artists. Awards are given to recognize an artist's dedication and skill in working with traditional materials and techniques, as well as experimentation with new media and innovative art forms.

Native Cinema Showcase
Monday, August 15 to Sunday August 21, 2011
Film Schedule: TBA
New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Free Admission

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), present the 11th Annual Native Cinema Showcase, a celebration of films and videos by and about indigenous peoples in connection with the Santa Fe Indian Market. All films will be shown at the New Mexico History Museum.

SWAIA and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture Present: Breakfast With the Curators
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 8:30 a.m.
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
710 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, NM 87501
$25 per person, or $20 per person for MNMF members
Museum Admission Included

Learn all about the history, splendor and future plans of the 90th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market over breakfast with SWAIA's Executive Director, Bruce Bernstein, PhD.

Janet Marie Rogers and Alex Jacobs
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee House
202 Galisteo St. #A, Santa Fe, 87501
Free Admission

Mohawk spoken word performance about living away from their homelands while maintaining Indian identity. Jacob’s says, “I am creating spiritual and emotional landscapes that speak and connect through the Soft Therapy of my Fabric Collage, and to tell large political and historical narratives with paper cut outs, and to connect directly with people through spoken word performances.”

Robert Mirabal Presents: Po’Pay Speaks
Tuesday, August 16 to September 4, 2011
The Lodge at Santa Fe
750 N. St. Francis Dr.
$45 Per ticket

Robert Mirabal, a two-time Grammy Award winner, will be performing Po’Pay Speaks from August 16th thru September 4th at The Lodge at Santa Fe. This new one-man show will showcase the history of Po’Pay during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, and his continuing influence today. Mirabal, a native of Taos Pueblo, has released nearly a dozen CDs, ranging from traditional ceremonial music to Rock n’ Roll. His highly praised PBS special, Music from a Painted Cave, was aired in 2002. The multi- talented Mirabal is also an artist and published author. His novel, Running Alone with Photographs, was published in 2009, and, Skeletons of a Bridge, a book of poetry, was published in 1994. When not touring, he lives a traditional life at Taos Pueblo with his wife, Dawn, and three daughters. Po’Pay Speaks is being developed with the aid of a grant from the New Mexico Multi-Cultural Foundation. Tickets are $55.00 for floor seating and $45.00 for mezzanine, and can be purchased at Collaborating with Mirabal on the production are Taos writers Stephen Parks and Nelson Zink. For more information, please contact Danette Lovato at 505.242.8355 or visit

Welcoming Reception at Patina Gallery
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 9: 00 a.m.
Patina Gallery
131 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, 87501
Free Admission

Join us for a continental breakfast and a welcoming orientation to Santa Fe at the internationally renowned Patina Gallery on Palace Avenue--an ardent business supporter of SWAIA and Indian Market. Tom Maguire, former Director of Arts and Cultural Tourism for the City of Santa Fe, will give a brief talk on the rich history, culture and creative energy of our vibrant community. Based on the Navajo Beauty Way, this audio-visual presentation conjures up the wealth of inspiring experiences you can discover during your visit here.

Simon Ortiz and Sara Maria Ortiz
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee House
202 Galisteo St. #A, Santa Fe, 87501
Free Admission

Readings by a father and daughter. Sara will be reading from her manuscript Red Milk: A Requiem in Three Act, and “…we’ll be engaging in an open dialogue about ‘the business of writing,’ our creative processes, inspirations, experiences, our challenges as contemporary Indigenous writers, etc.”

SWAIA Presents Music on the Plaza Bandstand
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Santa Fe

The final day of the inimitable Santa Fe Music Bandstand Series sponsored by SWAIA featuring Clan/Destine (Native Soul Operation Peace) and Levi & the Plateros (Native high powered Rock and Blues)

Best of Show Ceremony and Luncheon
Friday, August 19, 2011, 11:30am-2:00pm
Santa Fe Convention Center
201 W. Marcy St., Santa Fe, 87501
For Ticket Information, Please Contact SWAIA (505) 983-5220

This annual event, which precedes the Santa Fe Indian Market, is where the Best of Show Award is presented to a SWAIA artist; it is the Native art world’s most prestigious prize. Over 1000 pieces of artwork are submitted for judging in 10 art classifications. At no other time during Indian Market Week are the most exquisite works of art gathered in one location. This intimate gathering is a ticketed event and reserved for SWAIA Members only. Ticket information TBA. For more information on becoming a SWAIA Member, click here. For ticket information visit or call 983-5220.

Sneak and General Previews
Friday, August 19, 2011
Sneak Preview, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
General Preview: 7:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Santa Fe Convention Center
201 W. Marcy St., Santa Fe, 87501

SWAIA's Artist Awards Sneak Preview gives SWAIA members the early opportunity to see the best of Indian Market art after the Best of Show Awards Ceremony. The General Preview that follows opens the doors to the public for a glimpse at the award-winning artwork.

The 90th Santa Fe Indian Market
Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21, 2011, 7:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
The Plaza, Santa Fe
Free Admission

The Santa Fe Indian Market is the preeminent Native arts market in the world; it simultaneously embraces the past, present and future of Indian Arts. There is simply no other time and place in the Native arts world where the impact and influence of Native culture and identity is reinforced, reestablished and reinvented. The Indian Market features visual arts, literature, film, music, culinary arts, symposiums and much more. The Santa Fe Indian Market hosts over 1100 artists from 100 tribes and is the largest cultural event in New Mexico, attracting 100,000 visitors per year.

SWAIA Live Auction Gala, Dinner and Auctions
Saturday, August 20, 2011, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
La Fonda on the Plaza
Santa Fe, NM
For Ticket Information, Please Contact SWAIA (505) 983-5220

As SWAIA's largest fundraiser of the year, the Live Auction Gala is the most glamorous and exciting event during Indian Market Week. Each year, some of the country's most exceptional Native artists donate a piece of artwork to be auction in the silent or live auction. The auction items represent an eclectic array of Native art. Many of the one-of-a kind art pieces have been specifically made for the auctions. Tickets sell out well in advance of this event. For ticket information visit or call 983-5220.

Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy and Povika Awards Presentation
Saturday, August 20, 2011, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The Santa Fe Plaza Stage
Downtown Santa Fe

The Houser Award is the highest honor that SWAIA bestows upon a Native artist. The annual award recognizes the contributions by a distinguished Native American artist to Native arts and Native culture. The Povika Award recognizes service, leadership and support that Native and non-Native people (the broad range of individuals who make up the Indian Market family) provide to the annual Santa Fe Indian Market and to Native artists and their communities.

Native American Clothing Contest
Sunday, August 21, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The Santa Fe Plaza Stage
Downtown Santa Fe

Among the many cherished traditions at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Native American Clothing Contest (NACC) is one of the most beloved and anticipated events. For over twenty years, the NACC has been the most photographed event at the Santa Fe Indian Market. The contest includes categories for traditional and contemporary Native American fashions, features children and adult participants, and awards prizes in over 20 categories.

Open Studio Santa Fe Art Institute
Thursday, August 25, 2011, 5:30 p.m.
Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 Saint Michaels Dr., Santa Fe, 87505
Free Admission

Every month, the Santa Fe Art Institute hosts an Open Studio for the Artists & Writers in Residence to show their work to the public and to give folks a sneak peek into the closed door world of studio practice. The artists in residence for August will be:

Ryan Lee Smith, Park Hill, OK, SWAIA Residency Fellow - painter
Lisa Hageman Yahgulanaas, Masset, BC Canada, SWAIA Residency Fellow – weaver
Lenka Novakova, Quebec, Canada – video and installation
Pricilla Hollingsworth – Augusta, GA – ceramicist
Alyssa Phoebus and Murad Kahn Mumatz, Pakistan – mixed media
Marylin Waltzer, Haverford, PA – botanical illustrator
Judith Stein, Philadelphia, PA - writer

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another happy customer

An interesting aspect of doing business on line is that customers have to take us at our word that we are are presenting Zuni fetish carvings accurately, and that, when their Tribal Art purchase arrives it will satisfy them. In a retail store or gallery, the customer can pick it up and hold it before deciding to buy. He or she can't do that on line.

It helps when the seller can guarantee satisfaction. We do. After all, even if the item is described and pictured 100% perfectly, when the buyer holds in his or her hands, if may not live up to expectations. So we guarantee that the item will satisfy or we will refund the buyer's purchase price.

That makes it all the more gratifying when we receive a note like this one.

"Hi Susanne,

The carving arrived today in perfect condition!

It does look exactly like the photo on your web side, however holding it and seeing it in reality and knowing - this is mine now - is quite a wonderful experience.
This carving is such an outstanding masterpiece and I was very touched when I was holding it in my hands.

Thanks a lot for your prompt delivery and I can surely recommend your address to others, who are sharing the same passion for this kind of art!"

Thanks for sharing our gratitude.

William & Susanne Waites

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Native American pottery website, offers pottery made by artists in a wide range of Native American pueblos and tribes.

It also includes a selection beautifully made pots from the famed Village of Mata Ortiz in northern Mexico. I would like to present one of the most stunning examples, a large olla (11" tall) by Lionel Lopez Saenz. The artwork adorning it is simply spectacular.

If you enjoy this, you may be similarly charmed by other pottery presented on the website.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Primer on Old Zuni Pueblo Art

We have recently come across a video that was recorded by Deb Slaney, currently Curator at the Albuquerque Museum, when she was with the Heard Museum, Phoenix.

It is a fascinating discussion of the background of the C.G. Wallace Collection and the artists and work represented in it.

This link will take you to it on YouTube.

As collectors, dealers and students of Native American jewelry, and Zuni art particularly, we are always interested in learning more about the history of Zuni jewelry and carvings, and the techniques of the artists who created it a generation ago.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Small World Story concerning Native American Art

A few days ago, we decided to post a couple of items from our inventory to eBay.

One of them was a Choctaw river cane basket by Rosie Joe. The buyer turned out to be someone who had previously owned the basket. He recognized it when he saw it listed in our eBay store. Upon completion of the transaction, he notified us of his prior involvement with the basket. Here are some excerpts from what he wrote us.

"Thanks, I'll tell you a little more about it. I sold items regularly to OIAG and this was one of the items I should have kept, but accidently (sic) got included in a group package that I had put together for them. I could not get it back because they told me it was not available for sale.

I had met Rosie Joe some years before that and had purchased many of her baskets from her. I had helped her collect river cane in Eastern Oklahoma and watched her prepare the cane and start weaving baskets. One day as I had gone to pick her up in Shawnee Oklahoma to take her to Eastern Oklahoma to gather river cane, she came out carrying this basket and gifted it to me for my help to her.

I was upset when it got away from me, and am glad it is returning home.

Rosie Joe also went by the name Rosie Lewis, never signed her baskets that I am aware of, and came from Eastern Choctaw family where her mother and grandmother taught her to weave baskets.

Thanks again for the opportunity given to me, to regain this lost basket back into my now very small collection."

This one of the things we love about trading in tribal art, whether it's Navajo folk art, Zuni carvings, pueblo pottery, African tribal masks and figurative carvings, Australian Aboriginal art and artefacts or Arctic/Inuit carvings, there is a friendly circle of shared interests and values.

We are glad to include you, dear reader, en the circle.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Count on Delbert Buck for Navajo folk art with a smile.

Among the names that stand out in the circle of talented Navajo Folk Artists, Delbert Buck may be the most “creative”.

Born in Shiprock, NM in September 1976, Delbert began carving at a very early age. Some say his first carvings were when he was around nine-years-old and he carved toy guns to play with. Others say he began to hit his carving stride in his early teens, when his fascination with horses and airplanes inserted those subjects into his portfolio of carvings.

In any case, this son of Wilford and Jenny Buck quickly expanded his carving activities, with his first “shows” at 13. His work soon was included in the authoritative books about Navajo folk art, “The People Speak – Contemporary Navajo Folk Art” and “The Trading Post Guidebook.

The single characteristic that consistently emerges from Buck's creations is his sense of humor.

He has been quoted as saying his favorite part of what he does, and what he hopes others will get out of it, is a “smile”. His eclectic sculptures, combining horses, broncs, motorcycles, airplanes and a wide range of other colorful characters from Navajo culture, and his own unconventional imagination, are very popular and highly collectable.

He works in a shack at his home, using simple tools such as a hand saw, utility knife and hammer. He carves from pieces of cottonwood that are found on in nearby washes. Delbert does the carving and the painting, with assistance from his mother and sisters when it comes to dressing up the carvings.

As buyers, collectors and resellers of Delbert's work, we often are drawn to his pieces simply because of their delightful perspective on subjects that are otherwise cliched, but not in the hands of Delbert Buck.

They also often have a patriotic quality, which appeals to us, and makes them wonderful works to display around national holidays such as the 4th of July. The flag-toting, red, white and blue, biker grandma to the left, is and example.

See also the portrayal of Uncle Sam piloting a bi-plane with sheep as his wing-critters.

Special Note: is taking temporary mark-downs on Delbert Buck's pieces in stock. You are encouraged to take advantage of these savings now.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Santa Fe Getting Ready for August

Among the events that happen in Santa Fe in August, triggered by Indian Market, are the WhiteHawk shows.

We've now received notice that the 28th Annual Antique Ethnographic Art Show will take place on Thursday, August 11, Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13.

The hours are 6-9PM on Thursday, 10-6PM on Friday and 10-5PM on Saturday.

This usually is an extraordinary show, featuring antiquities offered by the most reputable dealers in the country.

The venue is the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Admission for the Thursday preview, which includes beer and wine, and eats by Cowgirl Catering, is $75 per person. That also includes admission to the Friday and Saturday openings. These are otherwise priced at $10 each. Bring cash or a checkbook. No credit cards accepted.

The 33rd Annual Antique Indian Art Show follows, with a $75 preview on Sunday, August 14 from 6-9PM, and open shows from 10-5PM on Monday, August 15 and Tuesday, August 16. The venue is the same and the $75 deal is the same.

An additional value is offered by the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association (ATADA), who will be offering workshops concerning the laws of collecting antique Native American artifacts. These will be open to the public at no charge. For more information about ATADA, visit their website at WhiteHawk's web site is at

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its websites devoted to African, Australian, Arctic and Native American art; Native American Indian Jewelry; Native American Pueblo Pottery and fetish carvings from Zuni, Cochiti, San Felipe and other Native American sources is a member of ATADA.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Controversy continues to boil in artifacts case.

The Indian Trader issue of this month reports a story about Indian trader Bill Malone, who was abused and deprived of property under false pretenses by the National Park Service. According to a book about Malone by Paul D. Berkowitz, "The Case of the Indian Trader", After his investigation into the case, Berkowitz was able to get the case against Malone dropped and the government was forced to return his property - after several years and significant damage to Malone's reputation.

Such over zealousness now shows up in cases the Federal Government brings against dealers and collectors of Native American artifacts. This subject is covered in ongoing commentary by the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association. Despite the law exempting material that was collected before 1979 and material collected from private land, the Feds routinely raid and seize privately held and museum collections, based on flimsy allegations.

The recent case in Utah was based on the testimony of a disgruntled trader, who allegedly was paid by the government to entrap fellow traders. Based on that "evidence", collectors premises were raided with entire collections confiscated for supposed lack of provenance. The case is till working its way through appeals and trials, without incidentally any further testimony from the government informant, who committed suicide.

What contributes to this attitude about lawful trading in Native artifacts, including those contributed to museums and made available for research and viewing by the public? There may be an answer in a recent talk given to collectors in Santa Fe, when a federal agent said he wished the legal trade would dry up. Theoretically, it would make his job easier, which is an interesting standard on which to base policy decisions that affect lawful activities.

We have seen, however, what happens when lawful activities are prohibited. In the case of alcoholic beverages, a perceived problem was not solved, but was worsened by the fostering of crime gangs that still operate in other areas.

Good intentions don't matter when bad ends result.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

ATADA Alerts of Native American Art Theft

Recently, the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association, of which Aboriginals: Art of the First Person is a member, published an alert about two Navajo weavings stolen from a Santa Fe, NM gallery.

Alerts like this are intended to call attention to items that may subsequently show up in the resale or collector market. This time, as in the past, it worked. With one of the weavings being recovered already.

Please look at the linked-to page to see a photo of the weaving that still is at large. If you run across it, please report your information to ATADA or the gallery. It is against the law to possess stolen merchandise.

Aboriginals offers Native American art at ZuniLink (Zuni and other Native carvings), Native-American-jewelry (Native American silver and turquoise jewelry), Native-PotteryLink (Pueblo Pottery) and TribalWorks (Navajo folk art).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Memoriam

As we approach Memorial Day in the United States, we at Aboriginals and its associated web sites at,, and, want to pause to recognize and thank those who sacrificed life, limb and family for our American freedoms. We encourage you to do the same.

Pause your holiday fun long enough to contemplate the loss of these heroes and the benefits we gained from their heroism.

Then celebrate the freedoms they protected and preserved for us. God bless freedom loving people everywhere.

Susanne & William Waites

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


As members of Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its associated websites offering authentic Native American jewelry, hand-made Native American Pueblo Pottery and Zuni fetish carvings, are happy to publish the following news concerning SWAIA's 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market

(SANTA FE, NM) The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) will unveil the Official 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market poster on Friday, May 20 at the Hotel Santa Fe (1501 Paseo De Peralta Santa Fe, NM) 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Brother and sister Tulane John and Myleka John (Dine) have been selected as the 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market Poster artists. Tulane (13 years-old) and Myleka (12 years-old) live in Phoenix, AZ. Their father is renowned sculptor, Alvin John. Both of these young artists are painters and will create a collaborative work of art for the poster. The image will also be incorporated into 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market Merchandise.

The selection for the 2011 poster artists is relevant in several ways. This is the first collaborative work of art to be selected for the Indian Market poster and they are the youngest artists ever to be selected. As a tribute to the 90th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Indian Market, SWAIA decided to search for a youth artist (15 years-old or younger) to design an image for its poster to recognize the future of Indian Market.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Tribal Art Adventures in Elementary School

This week, Susanne and I gave a presentation to the third and fourth grade art classes at J. Colin English Elementary School in North Fort Myers.

We presented Australian Aboriginal art to the third graders and African Tribal art to the fourth graders.

What well-behaved, attentive and interested audiences they were!

Our Australian program covered dot paintings from the Central Desert, bark paintings from the top end, carved, poker-burned animals, pottery painted by Aboriginal women, didgeridoos and boomerangs. We even showed them a dot-painted emu egg.

For the fourth graders, we concentrated on masks from West and Central Africa. Among those presented were masks from Bule, Guru, Senoufo, Dogon, Marka and Tchokwe. We let the students touch the masks and inspect the insides as well as the outer surfaces.

The exhibits were well-received and treated respectfully.

An interesting aspect of the presentation was a discussion of "spirit". How do you explain the concept of "spirit" to a fourth-grader? Especially when references to God or religion seemed inappropriate in a classroom setting.

The instructor came up with what I thought was a brilliant explanation. So much so that I told her I shall use it myself in the future. She likened it to the feeling that happens when you think you are alone, but you realize you are not alone. You are surrounded by people who share your ideas and values. That is the manifestation of the spirit that resides in the mask when it is danced.

That explanation resonated with me. I think the kids "got it."

We enjoyed doing these presentations. Susanne has taken them to schools before and, when we had our physical gallery on Sanibel, we invited classes to come for private presentations.

Now, we must take our collection and interest to the students, reinforced by information we present on our websites; for African and Australian art, for jewelry art from native artisans, for pueblo pottery and for carvings from Zuni, Cochiti and other Native American carvers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Opal in Native American Jewelry

Opal is one of the most beautiful and fascinating stones used in Native American jewelry.

Opal is a form of silica. Water makes up from 6% to 10% on average of its content, which makes it advisable to protect it from extreme dryness.

It appears in shades of white, black, red, orange, green, blue, yellow and a rainbow of other colors, of which the most common are white and green, with the rarest being red in black. The colors shimmer due to the refractive structure of the material. The term "opalescent" is erroneously used to describe this phenomenon. In fact, that term refers to the milky look of a form of opal-like substance known as "potch", often found near opal deposits.

Opal veins tend to yield material that is very thin. In order to use this material in jewelry, a special technique often is applied to create "doublets" and "triplets." The former is accomplished by backing the opal with a black material, emphasizing the way the colors play for the eye. The latter also backs a thin slice of natural opal with a dark material and adds a thin, clear dome of quartz or plastic atop. The dome tends to magnify the color display while protecting the opal beneath it, which is inherently fragile.

There are other forms of natural opal that are seldom used in jewelry. These include milk opal, fire opal, Peruvian blue opal and boulder opal. These material are occasionally used in carvings.

Opal mining is hot, dry, dusty and often frustrating work.

About 97% of jewelry-quality, natural opal comes from mines in Australia. I have visited the opal mines in Coober Pedy, South Australia, which is a major source for natural opal. The otherwise barren, outback landscape is studded with deep vertical shafts and mounds of earth that has been extracted during the mining process. These earthen mounds are often picked through by visitors looking for potch that, while not usable for quality opal, may have some scraps of color. These make interesting souvenirs. We have a few pieces in our collection.

As an aside, "fossickers" - that's what they are called - are not advised to do so at night.

The holes often are unseen in the dark and they are very deep. Bye-bye.

An interesting aspect of Coober Pedy is the homes and rooms carved into the escarpment
excavations left behind by mining. One is even a chapel. Because they are underground, they maintain a constant cool temperature, even at mid-day when the outside temperatures exceed 100 degrees.

Andamooka, also in South Australia, is a major source of black opal, as is Lightning Ridge in New South Wales.

Black opal is highly valued for the intensity of the color found in its black specimens.

Importing natural opal from Australia is very expensive. As a result, natural opal usually is priced beyond the reach of Native American jewelry makers.

Given the high cost of natural opal, most opal in Native American jewelry is man-made. The difference can be discerned by the human eye when a magnifier is used to view it. It is much more regular in its color display. Man-made opals also are not as dense as natural opals and may be more susceptible to drying out due to their porosity.

There is nothing inherently wrong with man-made opal, although at one point the Indian Arts and Crafts Association forbade its use in jewelry displayed for sale at the IACA Wholesale Market.

I believe it has since been permitted but only if clearly identified as man-made. It certainly approximates the flare and flash of natural opal when used in jewelry, and at significantly more affordable prices.

If you are considering purchasing jewelry with opal cabochons or inlay, be sure to ask the seller if the opal is natural or man-made. Don't pay for natural opal if you are getting man-made opal.

Opal is the birthstone for people born in October, under the sign of Scorpio.

Boulder opal sometimes has been used by Zuni fetish carvers, such as Gibbs Othole, Dee Edaakie and the late Jeff Tsalabutie. It has an almost magical appearance, displaying flashes of color in otherwise bland, brown ironstone matrix.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Delbert Charging Crow - Oglala Lakota Fetish Carver - Concluded

This is the third and final part of an article about Delbert Charging Crow, written by the proprietor of, which features fetish carvings by Zuni artists and those of other tribes, such as Delbert.
To catch up to the story, scroll down to the last episode. Thank you.

He indeed had been back to his homelands in the Dakotas but was now back in Albuquerque, carrying for his granddaughter, who was attending school in Albuquerque. He was living temporarily in a motel on the east side of town. That was where we met him to look at his most recent carvings.

The more we have learned about Delbert, the more we have come to respect him as person, a friend and a kindred soul, in addition to admiring his gift as a carver. If this is your first encounter with the story of Delbert Charging Crow, we think you will find him as interesting and worthy of admiration as we do.

Delbert tells us he is an Oglala Lakota Sioux, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Wanblee, South Dakota. He attributes his inspiration as a carver to his Big Grandma and his Grandpa Jim, who was a stone carver. Delbert proudly states that some of the pipestone pipes his Grandpa Jim carved are in the Smithsonian Institute.

After completing high school, Delbert studied dentistry and became a dental assistant in Wanblee. Three years into this career, he was recognized for his excellence with an Award of Achievement in Dentistry. Delbert's transition from dentistry to full time fetish carver came as the result of a dream, “One day I dreamed Great Grandma appeared to me. She had a handkerchief tied to rope belt with 15 knots. She took them off and showed me they were vertebrae shaped like buffalo, and she told me I needed to carve one. It was a spiritual animal she used for good luck. That day I carved my first buffalo out of alabaster with good thoughts.” (Source: Article written by Delbert Charging Crow.)

Native American Indian names referring to historic activities are not unusual. Delbert's surname is one of those, and refers to a specific event. His great, great, great Grandfather went into battle against the Crow Indians, who were Sioux enemies at the time. He counted many “coup”, which was the act of touching the enemy with a coup stick, without getting hurt. This earned his the family surname name of “Runs After Crows”. It was later changed to “Charging Crow”.

As a fetish carver, Delbert's a style is highly recognizable. He also signs every fetishes with his “hallmark”. He carves many creatures, from many materials, and provides them with sacred medicine bundles. The bundles contain South Dakota sage in a small hide bag, accompanied by crystals, an occasional arrowhead, other stones, beads and feathers.

Each item brings a special power to the carving. The bears carry crystal symbolizing health. They also sometimes carry arrowheads, as direction finders and lenders of strength on the Red Road. Beads stand for luck and health, and represent the burdens the fetish owner carries. Feathers are collected from prairies chickens that die by the side of the road. Delbert goes out of his way to explain that he blesses the dead bird and gives it an offering of tobacco before taking the feathers. He leaves the meat for other animals to feed on.

There are exceptions to adding the sacred medicine bundle. The buffalo does not need one because of its inherent strength. Buffalo were an important part of Sioux life on the plains. The tribe's hunters followed the herd to harvest meat to feed the tribe and skins for clothing.

In this respect, the horse became integral to the survival of the tribe. Once horses were introduced to the plains, the Sioux learned to ride them. Crazy Horse earned his name as one of the first to tame wild horses. Horses allowed the tribe to keep up with the moving herds of buffalo, making hunting, eating and living much easier. When Delbert carves a horse, he adds a stick to the medicine bundle. He told us that it is so the rider will have a “walking stick” in case he wants to dismount and walk instead of riding.

The horse also has been called the “Sacred Dog” because prior to the horse's introduction to native people, dogs were used to carry burdens of the traveling party. Horses became known as “Sacred Dogs” as they more effectively took on the task of carrying people and burdens across the plains.

Delbert says that he thinks about health, strength and travel as he carves horses. He sings and prays that the spirit of the horse will be a strong traveling companion and will help it's owner be more positive in life.

“When I carve the bear, I think about how fiercely she protects. The bear digs for roots, therefore giving her the power to heal,” Delbert informs. He also says his bears all are female. We later learn, however, that bears with turned heads, called “turning bears”, are male. It is said they also represent the act of turning one's life in a good direction from a bad path. Many people acquire them for exactly that reason.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Delbert Charging Crow - Oglala Lakota Fetish Carver - Continued

This is part two of a special report on Delbert Charging Crow, Lakota Sioux Native American fetish carver and how he carves. Scroll down to read Part One.

Delbert carves primarily from Pillar (black) slate, Zia alabaster, also called “white buffalo turquoise,” and catlinite (or “pipestone”). Pipestone, used for ceremonial smoking pipes, and representing the blood of the ancestors, is particularly sacred to the plains tribes,

Delbert use a specific carving ritual to invest his fetishes with the spirit and power of the stone. He starts by washing with sweet grass and offering prayers to the Creator, the ancestors and the stone people. He gives an offering of tobacco or other substance to Mother
Earth, thanking her for the precious minerals.

People ask how Delbert decides what animal to carve. His answer is typical of that given by most sculptors. The stone tells them what animal spirit is inside. But, for Delbert, the process is much deeper. Animal spirit is not just the evidence of the animal's presence. It is the animal itself, with all the power and support the animal can bring to the fetish owner.

He starts each carving by “blocking” the stone, removing its outer layer. Once that is done, the carving is placed in water, with a request to the water that it bless the stone. The surface of the stone fetish is smoothed and polished while it is underwater. This encourages the positive energy of the water to enter and be absorbed by the stone. When the smoothing is completed, the carving is held up to the Sun, with the request that the Sunboy drink water from the stone and bless the emerging fetish.

To be continued