Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The biggest reward of Native American arts business

The biggest reward is the feedback, the thanks, the positive energy expressed by a customer when she receives her purchase and it is everything she expected and more. So, we would like to share this message we received today from someone who purchased Zuni fetish carvings from

"I just wanted to let you know I received my 4 carvings and they are beautiful - exactly what I was hoping for! They will make very special Christmas gifts for 4 people who are very special to me."

With so much fraud and disappointment these days, especially and often associated with the internet, we are grateful for being able to bring a little more trust and satisfaction to the world.

Thank you for being  a reader, a friend and a customer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paying deposits to Indian artists.

From time to time, we receive comments from readers referring to difficulties they have had in receiving goods they have prepaid for. Actually, it is not uncommon, although it usually is a matter of timely delivery rather than failure to deliver. 

There is an explanation. Native Americans for the most part live "in the now". (It is a condition many lifestyle coaches suggest for everyone). For American Indians, it is a cultural value. Very few of them have bank accounts. Their work product is their savings. When they are paid for something they have created, those funds go to pay for day to day expenses or to invest in more raw material. 

Similarly, when they are paid for something they are supposed to create, daily expenses have first call on those funds. Eventually, the item will be created. But if it is on display when someone visits them and if that person offers to buy it, it will be sold, with the artist's assumption that he or she will make something else to fulfill the order for which he or she has been prepaid.

There is no attempt at fraud in this arrangement. Ownership of the object does not pass until the item is delivered. Prior to that, it remains part of the artist's work in progress.

As a result, many newcomers to the Native American art trade get frustrated when they believe they have paid for something that has been delivered to someone else. In the mind of the artist, it is stil his or her property until it meets the artist's criteria for delivery. At that point, it will be delivered.

In thirty years of dealing with Native American artists, we have never failed to receive what we bargained for. We have, on more than one occasion, had to wait a spell for it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Weeks To Save on Pacific Northwest Tribal Art

Special Sale Alert 
from TribalWorks/Aboriginals: Art of the First Person

Beautiful plaques and wall art for your collector's home decor. Click the link and check them out.

Now, save 20% off tribal art objects from Salish, Squamish and other tribes of the Pacific Northwest.  

Sale ends December 15, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last Day for Thanksgiving Half off sale

Our special "Half-Off" Sale on Native American jewelry ends tonight at midnight. Visit our Native American Jewelry website and find something you would like to save 50% on. Cut the listed price in half and that is your price.

We don't change the prices on the web site because we have hundreds of items to change.  And hundreds of items to change back when the sale ends.

And the sale will end. At midnight tonight. So, this is a serious sale, with serious endpoint. Take a look. Make an order filing out the secure order form or calling us a 800-305-0185.

You, or the person who receives your purchase as a gift, will have one more thing to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Beautiful jewelry vs. authentic beautiful jewelry

I was doing a little web browsing myself today and I came across something both interesting - and unsettling.

Let me start by saying that jewelry doesn't have to be authentic Native American jewelry to be beautiful.

But, if you admire Indian jewelry because of its roots in Native America Indian culture, you ought to be told specifically, that "Southwestern jewelry" that "looks" Indian isn't Native American jewelry unless it is specifically described as Native American. It often isn't even American.

Unscrupulous jewelry dealers, who often advertise as being part of a "tribe" promote for sale jewelry that is no more Native American than an assembly line somewhere in Asia. Sure they "look" Native American". They often are sold as being Native American-made. But they are not. They are ripped-off copies of authentic Native American Indian work and designs.

In at least one case, they are being priced well above what similar genuine pieces would be priced at. I guess it is so they can advertise 60% savings. But that is 60% off inflated prices that far exceed the value of the jewelry. So the buyers think they are getting a "great deal". In fact, they are overpaying for cheap imitations.

In addition, the makers and sellers of this phony art are cheating real Native American artists out of their birthright, their culture and their livelihood.

How can you tell when you are being deceived and being sold phony goods?

First, be suspicious of any jewelry sold on a Native American website that looks Native American but is described as "Southwestern". If it is the real thing, it will say so. The law requires it. A huge discount is also is a red flag. No one in the jewelry trade sells for less than the merchandise costs them. The only way they can give huge 60% discounts and stay in business is by buying cheap imitations and/or charging inflated original prices.

Second, if it is contemporary jewelry, the maker should be identified by name. It will either be signed or have a hallmark.(Yes, there are some simpler jewelry styles that are mass-produced by Native Americans and don't get signed by individual artists. But they are not high-end pieces.)

Third, if in doubt at all, ask the seller straight-on, "Is this jewelry made by an enrolled Native American tribe member? What's his/her name." Even sneaky-Petes won't outright lie about it. But if you don't ask, you don't get an answer.

Fourth, look for the Indian Arts & Crafts Association (IACA) logo on the website. Members vouch not to misrepresent non-American Indian art as what it is not.

In the end, no one can tell you what to buy or who to buy from. But you should know what you are buying and what its real value is, or you will be cheated.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

November in Indian Art

Here's the schedule for Native American art events in November:

November 3-4 - Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ - A Gathering of Weavers

November 5 - 10th Annual Veterans Pow Wow, Fairfax, VA

November 5-6 - American Indian 2012 Marketplace at the Autry, Los Angeles

November 8 - Crown Point Rug Auction, AZ

November 10-11 - Allard's Big Fall Auction, Mesa AZ

November 10-11 - 13th Clearfield Veterans Day Pow Wow, Clearfield, PA

November 10-11 - Columbia Antique Market, Columbia, MO

November 12 - Feast of San Diego, Jemez and Tesuque Pueblos, NM

November 16-18 - Pahrump Pow Wow, Pahrump, NV

November 17-18 - St. Louis Western Art Show, St. Charles, MO

November 24-25 - SWAIA Winter Market, Santa Fe, NM

Friday, October 26, 2012

Harrison Begay RIP

Prolific and talented, Navajo artist Harrison Begay, left behind a wealth of beautiful paintings when he passed earlier this year. Friends and associates estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 paintings were completed in his unique style. But he never became a wealthy man; partly because some of the higher prices the public paid for his paintings included the costs of the dealers who marketed them. Yet he continued to paint because he loved to do it and he loved the animals that were subjects of his work. Pictured here is one of his works in our collection at

He is said to have refused commissions because he painted from the heart and had to be inspired by his subject. As a result, anyone who wanted a certain subject painted would have to wait years, until the spirit moved him.

He had been married once but he and his divorced after he returned from service in World War II. He had no children but is survived by a sister and nieces and nephews.
His passing is a loss to all who love beautiful images sensitively rendered.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recently, within the last two years, we have discovered the work of Peter Ray James, a Navajo artist specializing in fabric pieces.

Here are a few of his pieces we have acquired in recent days.

According to his bio, James graduated with honors from the Institute of American Indian Arts  in Santa Fe NM in 1984. He also attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 1988, his work was introduced to the competitive Indian Art market, which means our introduction to him was well into his career, In the meantime, collectors of his work have included Ahmad & Felicia Rashad, Ted Danson, Jon Bon Jovi and Wynonna Judd. His work is also offered at the New Mexico Museum and the Wheelwright Museum, both  in Santa Fe.

James's Navajo name is Nahat'a Yilth Yil Wood, which translates as "One who delivers the
message". His pieces include representation of spirit figures, yeis, horses, buffaloes - even fish. They are done in fabrics that  are dyed and painted with Navajo symbols. Twigs or feathers often are added in much same manner as prayer- or medicine-bundles on fetish carvings. 

"My Navajo tradition is a path abounding with power and energy. I am enriching my life with remembrance... a spiritual path and a powerful tradition in transition" 
- Peter Ray James
For more information, visit

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Institute of American Indian Arts Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our websites,, and, have watched the growth of IAIA for the 33 years we have been involved with Native American art and culture. We salute its contribution to Native American art.

So we join the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the world's only four-year fine arts college dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts this Saturday.

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary on October 13 with panel sessions on IAIA's impact on creative writing, museum studies, Indigenous studies and studio arts with astute alumni and faculty. Creative Writing Chairman Jon Davis, who is also Santa Fe's poet laureate, and award-winning poet Joy Harjo(Muscogee (Creek) Nation) will be part of Saturday's discussion. Other panelists include award-winning artist Tony Abeyta (Navajo) and Pojoaque Pueblo Governor George Rivera.

Other events include campus tours, garden and greenhouse tours, art demonstrations-- some using state-of-the-art equipment--and student films and art exhibitions.  

To view a historic interactive timeline of IAIA's 50-year history, go to

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Carvings by Salvador Romero

We have just posted a number of new carvings by Cochiti carver, Salvador Romero. It is some of his best work ever. Several are combination carvings with adult animals and juveniles, which should appeal to buyers who have families of their own.

Here are some photos:

And there are more at ZuniLink.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Nativities for Christmas

We have acquired a number of new Pueblo Pottery Nativity sets that can be ordered and shipped with plenty of time to get to you for Christmas celebrations.

Here are three:

Check out these and the other Pueblo Pottery Nativities at 
They represent reverent and expressive ways to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

PS: Also check out our Lay Away plan. A down payment of 10% to 20%, 
followed by monthly payments. The amount of the monthly payment is less important 
than the consistency of a payment each month. 
Contact us at 1-800-305-0185 to work out the details.
Merry Christmas

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Special offers from Indian Market week

Our trip to New Mexico for Indian Market has been quite productive.

We've acquired Cochiti fetish carvings by Salvador Romero,  new Zuni fetish carvings and stunning Navajo jewelry items. When we get them home, the real work begins to put the new items on our Zuni carvings website and our Native American Jewelry website. So, we are offering some discounts for preview purchasers.

Here's a Todd Westika's Shell Corn Maiden with six directional ears of corn. When it is added to the website the price will be $350. Buy it now for $330.
This pair of horses by Salvador Romero will be $150 on the eband $140 if you buy it now.

These two pendants by Navajo Calvin Begay will be $250 on line and $295 on line respectively with preview prices of $200 and $250 respectively if purchased now.

To purchase, email us at and mention this blog message or telephone us at 800-305-0185.

When the items are posted on the websites, the prices will be higher. Give us a call or send us an email message.

Monday, August 20, 2012

ATADA Theft Alert

Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association has posted an alert about the theft of the Sioux ceremonial gown pictured above from a Van Nuys CA. During the night of August 3-4, 2012, a small well-worn cardboard box containing the dress and jewelry pictured was stolen from a car in Van Nuys, CA. A reward is being offered if the items are returned in a timely manner.Please contact Diane Petersen, caretaker of the items. She is asking whoever took
the items to return them as soon as possible, phone 1-719-362-3558 or email .

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its associated online galleries of Native Art dealing in Zuni and other tribal carvings,, Native American Pottery, Native American Jewelry and African, Australian, Inuit and Navajo folk art, members of ATADA, post and report these theft alerts in the hopes that anyone approached by a seller of this stolen item can be identified. There is no statue of limitations in the USA for the possession of stolen goods.

Thank you for your help.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Indian Market is just hours away

...and we are eagerly awaiting it.

In the meantime, we have had some very nice visits with some of our favorite artists.

We have added some excellent and unusual fetish carvings to our selection. We also have added some distinctive and stunning Calvin Begay pendants and link bracelets. But we will not be able to post any of it up until next month.

As a regular customer of and, you know that we cherry-pick and personally select each item, refusing many pieces that are perfectly acceptable but not perfect enough for you.

Take a look at our web pages this week and bookmark them to return in September for a wonderful treat.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Native Art:Who cares who made it and where it was made

On August 2, the South West Association for Indian Art (SWAIA) will sponsor a panel discussion on Authenticity and the Production of Quality in Native Arts. The event will be co-sponsored by Collected Works Bookstore, the Santa Fe venue for the discussion.
Artists, experts, and interested parties in the Santa Fe art market will discuss upholding standards in art making, and integrity in the sale of Native art in shops.  There is little doubt in an art making community like Santa Fe that there is a plethora of beautiful things –many handmade and genuine. But some copies and knock-offs, both deliberate and unintentional, provide ready sources of income to satiate tourists and decorators.  
But what are the consequences of allowing the dollar to take the lead in the production of Native art and Indian-style souvenirs in Santa Fe?  Is the groundwork now laid for eventual collapse?  How do artists and non-profits serve to protect heritage, and what is the city of Santa Fe's culpability and role?  
The panel, to be moderated by Dr. Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director of SWAIA, is part of SWAIA’s investigation into quality and its commitment to upholding standards of excellence as the preeminent authority in Native art.
The August 2 panel begins at 6 pm and is free and open to the public.


This writer notes in reading the SWAIA announcement that little credit is given to the commercial aspect of a healthy Native art market. Once again, the "institutional" view seems to be that professional collector/dealers are somewhere between irrelevant, venal an at least, unwelcome.

As one of those dealer/collectors of Native American pottery
Indian jewelry and fetish carvings, who is a member of IACA and ATADA, I know countless professionals in the field. They are upright, honest and supportive of the artists and the market. It is in their best interest to protect the integrity of Native arts. After all, in addition to being a passion for them, it is a source of their income and economic success. They wouldn't think of fouling the nest.

Moreover, the network of reputable dealers, whether resident in Santa Fe or online, is fundamental to the appreciation and success of the Native arts genre. How would the products of artists, who often live in remote communities, get to market, to the thousands of collectors who may never get to a pueblo or Indian Market? Collector/dealers not only buy outright, channeling funds immediately to the artists, but also invest a substantial portion of their income in promoting the artists and the art.

Yes, there are some miscreants in shops along the walkways of Santa Fe. But overwhelmingly, the people who deal in authentic Native arts in Santa Fe and online are responsible, reputable and integral to the growth and popularity of Native art. They should be treated with respect by the institutional elite.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Indian Market artists at

We have been able to gather on one page all of the work in's collection by artists who have been accepted to show at this years SWAIA Indian market. Click on the link to visit our "one stop Indian Market shop."

This is not work that will be shown at this years Indian Market. These are earlier pieces by the same artists. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SWAIA Indian Market Artists Announced

SWAIA has released a list (as of July 24,2012) of artists accepted for the 2012 Santa Fe Indian Market.
Many friends of ours are included. We will shortly issue our own list of those whose work is in our Zunilink  collection., our Native American Pueblo Pottery collection and our Native American jewelry collection.

But, for now, here is the "breaking news".

Come back and visit the blog again for updates. It's going to be a great market!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

30% off for Native American Christmas pottery

Christmas is a long way off - relatively. 

But, like everything else on the calendar, it will be here before we know it. So, at Native-PotteryLink we are offering July savings on Native American pottery items themed to Christmas. 

This includes pottery nativity sets and figures representing Santa Claus and his helpers. 

Trujillo - Jemez Nativity
For the month of July, we  will reduce the price of any of these items by 30%. Simply visit the web site and choose the pottery you want to acquire. 

Deduct 30% from the listed price and that is the price you will be charged. (We don't change the prices on the page because the prices will return to that level when the sale is over.)

Get a head start on the season and you will have your Christmas items on hand when it's time to decorate.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Twenty+ years with Salvador Romero, Cochiti carver

We opened our physical gallery on Sanibel Island 22 years ago this month, after 10 years of trading in Tribal Art in Chicago. One of the first Native American artists we represented was Salvador Romero of Cochiti Pueblo. On more than one occasion he visited the gallery to demonstrate his skills. 

Around 2006, we closed the store and moved our entire ZuniLink, Native American jewelry, Native American Pueblo Pottery other operations online. Salvador and his brother, Wilson Romero, and his nephew-in-law, Lionel Sanchez, have been carving for us ever since. While Sal has had others selling his work, which we think is great for all concerned, we are proud to be associated with his early days and the growth of his popularity. 

In honor of this anniversary, and as a thank you to all who have given us their business, we are offering every carving by Sal, Wilson and Lionel in our inventory at 25% off the listed price. Look at these directory pages to see what is available. (also has an interesting video of Sal)

If you see something you like, simple calculate your price at 25% off of the price being shown and contact us at 800-303-0185. We will take care of it from there.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The meaning of quality in Native American art?

What is the meaning of quality when evaluating and discussing Native art?
SANTA FE, New Mexico—SWAIA and Collected Works Bookstore present conversations about the meaning of quality when evaluating and discussing art.  What is quality and how it is determined will be the topic of a series of provocative panel discussions.  The first panel, “Authenticity in Native Art,” will take place at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St, #2) on Thursday, July 12 at 6 pm.
Authenticity and materials are often used as means to discuss and describe quality.  This three-part series of panel discussions engages artists and brings authorities together to examine the meanings of “authenticity” in Native art and related topics of concern to the community. SWAIA will use these topics to engage artists by asking them to respond to two questions:  What is “authenticity” in Native art, and what is its importance to quality?  Questions will address the roles and relevance of authenticity to creativity, cultural preservation, and quality of art, aside from art market value.  SWAIA asks artists themselves to define quality and artistic excellence at Indian Market.
SWAIA and Collected Works Bookstore invite the public to hear from the experts in these lively discussions on Thursdays, July 12, July 19, and August 2. Artists alone will make up the first panel, joined later in the series by curators, community leaders, and other stakeholders on Thursday, July 19 and Thursday, August 2.   The panels are part of SWAIA’s investigation into quality and its commitment to upholding standards of excellence as the preeminent authority in Native art.
All panels begin at 6 pm and are free of charge. 
For more information, visit

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Australian Aboriginal art is Barking up a different tree.

In Australia, famous for bark paintings by Aboriginal artists, paper is moving up as an alternative medium to bark. 

The advantages for artists, and buyers is that paper is readily available year-round, while bark can only be harvested from trees during and after the December-June wet season. Removing the bark kills the tree. 

Paper, on the other hand, is cotton-based. It's also much easier to ship. As Aboriginal art has become more popular, with demand in distant places, shipping costs and difficulties have become important factors. Bark is a problem in this regard. 

Warping and becoming moldy can make the bark unattractive and undesirable for hanging. As bark gets older, brittleness and cracking similarly diminish it's appeal and marketability. 

Archival paper has a density and texture similar to the surface of bark, which accepts ochre paints well. Guache is used to prepare the surface for painting.

Some of our favorite images on paper come from Injalak near Oenpelli in the North of Australia.  They report that paper is responsible for more than 75% of their painting sales. As important as paper has become, cultural fidelity places the decision of what medium to use in the hands of the artist.

This one was done by Larry Nalorman of Oenpelli

More examples of Australian Aboriginal bark-style paintings on bark and paper can be seen here

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Santa Fe Indian Market Preview

According to SWAIA, Indian Market Week promises to be better than ever in 2012. The grand finale that is  Indian Market begins at 7:00 am on Saturday, August 18. 

While the diversity of art has always been celebrated at Indian Market, new art forms, materials, and techniques are joining traditional arts, particularly in jewelry making and Pueblo pottery making. 

Jewelry artists have more choices these days. Economic survival in the face of rising costs of  turquoise and silver drives artists to find new materials and techniques. Fake and Indian-look-alike jewelry continues to undercut the market for authentic Native American-made work. The former are sold throughout the southwest, to the detriment of the real thing. Indian Market informs us of its continuing efforts to assure that only authentic materials and handmade jewelry is offered at Market. 

Pueblo pottery has long been the foundation of Indian Market; The Market was created to present and reward outstanding Native pottery. Pueblo pottery is feeling the impact of "modern" techniques, materials and technologies, accompanied by the pressure to make money. 

Potters in particular suffer economically during recession years.Yet, traditional pottery hasn't been replaced. It is a genre and lifestyle filled with ritual and tradition. A Pueblo potter that makes pottery the traditional way, does so just because he or she believes it is the right way.

According to potters,  traditional pottery requires a pottery-maker to collect and prepare the clay; hand coil it, use paints without commercial additives, and fire the vessel outdoors. The values rooted in making pottery are deeply embedded in communities; the same place where religious ideas values are preserved and nurtured.. Because it is associated with tribal origin and religious belief, it is akin to dance, song, and ritual. 

As collectors of pueblo pottery, Aboriginals Gallery and it's online showcase, Native-Potterylink.comhttp://www.Native-PotteryLink is honored to be part of efforts to support and preserve the deep cultural significance of pottery in the Pueblos. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Having just posted some Hopi pottery to our Facebook page, I came across this video on YouTube, created by Paul Niemi. It is an interview in 2010 with three Sahmie Sisters, descendants of the great Hopi potter, Nampeyo.
With thanks to Uncle Paulie, who also blogs on blogspot and in keeping with YouTube's Commons License, I am posting it here. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SWAIA's Rising Artists Project

As members of SWAIA, Aboriginals and it's allied websites at, and //  supports programs like these as ways to enrich Native American Arts and Artists.
The Rising Artists Project
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico—The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) and Nativo Lodge, a Heritage Hotel & Resort will host three artists, Jaque Fragua, Lynnette Haozous, and Ehren Natay, for one-week residencies in June as part of the Rising Artists Project, a new artist-in-residence program geared toward early-career Native American artists in New Mexico.  The three residencies will culminate in an opening reception, June 30, 2012, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The schedules for the residencies are as follows:  Jaque Fragua, June 11-15; Lynnette Haozous, June 17-23; Ehren K. Natay, June 25-29. Visitors are welcome to visit the artists “in-studio” as they work. 
SWAIA and Nativo Lodge invite the public to the opening reception of the Rising Artists Project, June 30, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Nativo Lodge (6000 Pan American Freeway NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109), which will feature a DJ, refreshments, and a cash bar. 
Rooms at Nativo Lodge ( will be available for a special rate of $69 from June 11th through June 29th and for $79 the night of June 30th, courtesy of Heritage Hotels & Resorts.



Jaque Fragua is an acclaimed multi-media artist from New Mexico. From his cultural background, he has developed a yearning for creativity and for the intrinsic process that is Art. Experimenting with various mediums, such as aerosol, found objects, earthworks, poetry, music, messages of civil unrest, social justice, emotional introspection, and personal healing have heartened his unique perspective on life through art. Fragua has studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and in turn, has taught many community-based workshops, such as mural projects/public-art studies, and studio classes for figure drawing & painting. Fragua has worked with fine establishments such as Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Institute of American Indian Arts, & Museum of Indian Arts & Culture to produce progressive/innovative exhibits concerning the plight of Native America.
Lynnette Haozous bloodlines include Chiricahua (San Carlos) Apache, Navajo, and Taos Pueblo descent. Haozous is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Chiricahua Apache tribe in Arizona. Haozous was fortunate to grow up and experience living in her tribes nations, but calls Taos Pueblo, New Mexico home. Drawing inspiration from all three of her tribes, Haozous employs herself as an artistic instrument of the indigenous journey to convey her people’s truths, through such mediums as painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, film and stage. While attending Central New Mexico Community College she concentrated in Studio Arts with a focus in Painting. Some of her works include: mural artist for artist Douglas Miles’ show ,“Apaches and Angels” in 2010, at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, which landed her as the back cover artist for THE Magazine, in October 2010.  Haozous also has a deep passion for acting, starring in such films as Lumbini Park (2008), “Kokopelli” (2009), and most recently, the documentary about female native artists entitled, “APACHE Was Here…” (2010). Some of her works on stage include starring in native written plays, such as “Fancy Dancer” (2011), “The Duel”  (2011), and “Smoke” (2010).
Ehren Natay (Navajo), a working artist in Santa Fe, NM, looks at connection and conflict in his experience as a Native person who lives off a reservation. “I am torn between two worlds, and the struggle is inherent in my artwork.” Seeking understanding, Natay examines the challenges and injustices of urban environments with Reservation life, as well as questions of social interface. Natay asks, “What challenges do Reservation Indians and Urban Indians face together?  What does it mean to be denied the right to certain outlets of expression because it is culturally taboo?  Is there room for the American society to adopt native tradition?”
Ehren has been recognized for his work in sculpture, painting, jewelry, and other media by the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Navajo Nation Museum, Native Treasures Art Show, and at the Santa Fe Indian Market.  His acclaimed work has been shown in New Mexico, Arizona, and in Las Vegas, Nevada.

P.O. Box 969 · Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504 · 505.983.5220 ·
SWAIA is a non-profit organization supporting Native arts and cultures

Friday, June 08, 2012

Contemporary Native American Artists

A dedicated group of Native American artist have embarked on a campaign to create a documentary about the contemporary world of Native American art. 

Give this video a watch and, if you are moved by the possibilities, please contribute. Thank you. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two Weekends of Special Merit

Today is Armed Forces Day, designated to salute the men and women who get out of bed every morning not knowing whether or not they will be called into battle. We owe them so much as they figuratively guard the ramparts, watching for threats to our reedom and willing to ride into the breach to defend us at a moment's notice. 

We should all pause to thank them. 

If you pass someone in uniform on the street or in the airport, tell them "Thank you for your service". You may worry that you will be disturbing them or invading their privacy. Please trust me. They appreciate the recognition. 

Susanne and I have done this hundreds of times in our travels. We have never received any response that wasn't a heartfelt "thank you" in return, accompanied by a slight sense of surprise that anyone cares. We do care.

And next weekend we will commemorate those who not only risked their lives, but lost them in defense of your freedom. This Memorial Day, please take a break from the beer, barbecue and other family events to pause with your mind thankfully focused on their sacrifice.

God bless American and God Bless those who defend us. 

By the way, many of you may not know of the valiant contributions of Native Americans in our nations defense. Many of them, most notably the Navajo Code Talkers' (reproduced here in their Marine Corps Dress uniforms as carved by Renzo Reed) were on the front lines during combat in WWII. They used their obscure Navajo (Dine') language to communicate about the enemy, information that was passed on to commanders. Because it was not a common language, the enemy was unsuccessful in translating it and breaking the codes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's Your Gripe. The Business of Complaining.

It seems everyone has a "Gripe." The Occupy Wall Street crowds have a gripe. The TEA Partiers have a gripe. The Palestinians have a gripe. The Greek rioters have a gripe. Those gripes seem almost beyond reconciliation.  

What about the lesser gripes? 

Well, lesser to the media, but not so lesser to you when the flowers you order for Mother's Day arrive limp or the Made in America jewelry turns out to be made in China or an eBay purchase isn't quite what it is described to be.

What can you do besides fume and rant and gripe?

Not much if you have an unresponsive seller. It is the sign of a company that is more focused on itself than on the customer.  The irony is that the company that focuses on itself instead of its customer will soon have no customers to be concerned about.

Little satisfaction to the customer who feels cheated. There is much more comfort in doing business with a seller that guarantees its products. If you are buying sight unseen online, that guarantee is even more important.

When you order an item of Native American jewelry, a piece of Pueblo pottery or a Zuni carving, based on a description and a photo, you don't really know what you are going to get until you hold it in your hand.

When you order it from, or, be assured that you have a satisfaction guarantee in force for at least 10 days after you receive it. Any item that does not live up to your expectation, for any reason, send it back for a purchase price refund.

How serious are we? Recently, at Native-American-jewelry, we had a purchase refused and returned without even opening the shipping package. We accepted it and cancelled the charge. We doubt it was a dissatisfaction with the item. But that's not the point. The point is the guarantee is for satisfaction, under any circumstances. 

Do you have that kind of confidence in your seller?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

SWAIA to Celebrate Pueblo Potters, June 2, 2012

The South West Association for Indian Art (SWAIA) is hosting an event in celebration of Pueblo Potter Recipients of 2012 Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award on June 2, 2012 at the Allan Houser Studio and Sculpture Gardens, 22 Haozous, Cerrillos, NM. The event starts at 5:30 pm with dinner and a reception. Phillip M. Haozous will perform on the flute.

The event will be open to the public with a suggested donation of $20. You may RSVP to Since we will not be in New mexico over that date, will be attending in spirit only. 

We invite anyone there in person to post comments, photos or video to this blog. Or to

Help us spread the word
Thank you.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Stolen Art Alert

An Elliptical Turquoise-Decorated Silver Box was Stolen from an Albuquerque, NM Gallery, on May 4, 2012 . An image is posted at .

Please check out the images posted on our Theft Alert Page and familiarize yourself with them so that you will be prepared if someone offers any of these for sale.

The lesson from our previous alerts is clear - if there are items on the ATADA theft alert page or on the ATADA Caveat Emptor page, they are very difficult to sell, and must be kept out of sight, even in a home collection. Note that there is no statute of limitations on stolen property in the USA. Let the buyer beware!

Please look at these images and check anything that is offered to you against the images on the ATADA Theft Alert and the ATADA Caveat Emptor pages.

This message brought to you by on behalf of Antique Tribal Art Dealer Association.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who's Your Mommy?

A few years ago, a favorite line for stand-up comics was, "Who's Your Daddy"? Why do you suppose "Who's Your Mommy?" never caught on? Because most people have no doubt who their "Mommy" is. She is the person who carried you through discomfort and apprehension during pregnancy. She gave you birth through unimaginable pain. She swaddled you. She fed you and held you protectively in her arms next to her heart, while showering you with baby kisses. You don't forget something like that, making a child's bond to his or her mother almost unbreakable.

What does this have to do with Tribal Art? 

Mother's Day is May 13, just days away. This is your opportunity to respond to her love with an act of love of your own. Our online gallery of Native American Jewelry has a large selection of beautiful inlaid Navajo pendants and other gifts of superb artistry and exquisite beauty. Most appropriate for this purpose among them are sterling silver heart designs, reflecting the heart-o-heart connection each of us shares with our mothers.

If you visit the website, you can see them all. If a heart doesn't strike your fancy, there are many other designs, each gorgeous in its own way. 

Order between now and Mother's Day, and we will discount our purchase price by 15%. Simply enter the code "Tribal Artery" in the comments space on the secure online order form, or mention it to us when you call in your secure order. 1-800-305-0185

It's just our opinion, but of all the special days of the year, none is more significant than Mother's Day. Love you, Mom, where ever you are.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The elegance of the cross. A Native American jewelry tradition

We have just emailed a notice to those who have signed up to hear from us announcing a sale on Native American cross pendants.

The cross pendant is an interesting object of Native American jewelry. Of the many abstract and representational creations by Zuni and Navajo jewelry artists, the crucifix inherently extends to both traditional Native American culture and predominantly Christian European culture.

The cross came into the Native American culture through the influence of Spanish Catholic explorers and religious authorities. As they moved through the Indian territories of the Southwest, they spread the gospel, converting thousands of Natives to Christian beliefs. At least, they convinced the Indians that it was economically and socially wise to add Christian symbols and ceremonies to their traditions, even if they weren't "true believers."

Over generations, Native Americans absorbed christian theology and blended it with their native tribal religions. Mission churches did not replace kivas, but they certainly assumed a place alongside them.

It was natural then that the development of silver work and lapidary by talented Navajo, Zuni and other tribal jewelry artisans would be expressed in crosses to be worn as pendants. Today, designs vary while retaining substantial fidelity to the basic crucifix form. They have been created in gold and silver (less gold these days, given the expense of that medium). They have been studded with cabuchons of turquoise, lapis, shell, coral and other semi-precious stones. They have included delicate inlay and channel work with the same stones.

The result is a bounty of jewelry possibilities, all of which permit and encourage the faithful to display their Christian beliefs while making statements of beauty and taste. Of additional interest is the fact that many, many authentic Native American cross pendants, while elegant and attractive are surprisingly inexpensive to give and wear.

Now, until Easter 2012, we are offering a 10% discount on all our Navajo crosses and Zuni crosses. Simply use the code "faith" when you order on line or by phone (800-305-0185) 10% will be deducted from the listed price.

Thank you and Happy Easter.

PS: We don't intend to offend our Jewish adherents. There are many non-Christian Native American designs that will make wonderful additions to the Native American jewelry wardrobe of people of all faiths. But the relationship between traditional Native American culture and Christian beliefs is a fact, and can't be ignored.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are you buying phony art and pottery?

The Art Media Agency reports that Italian authorities have broken up an art counterfeiting gang. They were making replicas of Greek and Etruscan antiquities and selling them to collectors at "real" prices.

The authenticity "credentials" were being altered by a hospital employee with access to x-ray machines to falsify dating results. Hundreds of thousands of Euros were involved, along with victims who should have known better. They say, in fact, that it was one collector's suspicions about the surge of previously undiscovered work being offered that triggered an investigation.

The moral is to question everything. And remember your best defense and assurance of authenticity is a reputable dealer who will stand behind what you buy from him.

Just for laughs.

A friend sent this to me. Actually, several friends sent it to me. In fact, if you've seen it before, I can only say that didn't know you were going to be there. So few people go there. To avoid being in consistent, I have added a few places I have been too.
I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work. I live close so it's a short drive.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I was in Jury. There were six of us there at the time.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible but life shows me I am not.

I have been in Discreet, but you are the only one I am telling that to.

I believe I also have been in Definite. I'm a little vague about it.

People keep telling me I'm in Denial but I'm positive I've never been there before!

I have been in Deeps**t many times; the older I get, the easier it is to get there. I actually kind of enjoy it there.

So far, I haven't been in Continent; but my travel agent (the doctor) says I'll be going soon.

If you have found this an "in" joyable read, why not leave a comment?