According to the National Congress of American Indians, there are 572 federally recognized Indian Nations in the United States. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 98th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market at the Santa Fe Plaza will celebrate roughly 1,000 indigenous peoples' art.

Produced by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the Santa Fe Indian Market brings in around 115,000 visitors from all over the world, according to the event organizers. This year’s market hours are Saturday, August 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, August 18, from 8 a.m.- to 5 p.m. 

New Mexico is home to around 26 pueblos and tribes, which include the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, the Pueblo of Zuni, the Pueblo of Jemez, the Pueblo of Zia and the Pueblo of Taos. At the event, notable Native female artists such as Glendora Fragua and Kathleen Wall, both of the Jemez pueblo, will attend.  



Still, this event is more than just a stroll around the Santa Fe Plaza to appreciate art. Given that this celebration spans August 17 through 19, the SWAIA has planned three days worth of events. According to the SWAIA, the event has grown into the largest Native American art event in the world. 

Highlights will start at 11:30 a.m. on Friday with the Best of Show Ceremony and luncheon at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. This members exclusive event celebrates and rewards the Best of Show. Following this, a sneak peak preview of the award winning art will open up between 2 p.m  and 4 p.m. before the general preview beginning at 6 p.m.

The following Saturday will mark the grand event— The Indian Market Gala. According to SWAIA, this year’s event will be an encompassing experience, with the theme as “RISE & REMEMBER: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women.”

“The Santa Fe Indian Market provides a vehicle of personal and cultural sustainability for Native artists,” the SWAIA said in a press release. “It is an opportunity for Native people to represent themselves to the world and build lasting relationships.” 

At the Gala, Congresswoman Deb Haaland — New Mexico’s First Congressional District member of Congress — will be the guest of honor. Haaland is a 35th generation New Mexican and is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. She also has Jemez Pueblo heritage. Haaland is also a graduate of the University of New Mexico and UNM Law School.

Aside from the Gala events on Friday and Saturday, Sunday will see light to the 6th Annual Indian Market Haute Couture Fashion Show at 2 p.m. hosted at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. It will feature designers such as Jamie Okuma, Sho Sho Esquiro, Shy Native and more.

According to SWAIA, the show highlights Indigenous fashion designers who look to their cultural past to create items that embody the essence of ancestral memory, while also creating innovative designs representing the now. 

According to the SWAIA, the Santa Fe Indian Market gives out between $75,000 and $100,000 in awards directly to artists. The awards recognize both traditional and contemporary art forms. The event also awards around five to eight fellowships annually, including distributing them to youth. 

Luisa Pennington is the Culture Editor and Co-Opinion Editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @_luisapennington_