The biggest such show in the world, it has been going on since 1922 and has probably done more for Indian arts and artists ... and Indian prestige ... than any organization or government program ever dreamed possible. It also pumps millions of dollars into the economy of New Mexico and nearby states.

--- Sheila Tryk

Santa Fe Indian Market

Sponsored by the Southwest Association for Indian Arts, the 2015 Santa Fe Indian Market will be held the weekend of August 22 - 23 on the Santa Fe Plaza. 


The Santa Fe Indian Market is a 93-year-old Native American market, deemed to be the largest cultural event in the Southwest. 


Each year, over 150,000 visitors come to see and perhaps buy handcrafted art by over 1,000 Native American artists from the US and Canada.




There is no admission for attending, and it truly is one of those only-in-New Mexico experiences. The Market is held outdoor on the Santa Fe Plaza and surrounding streets. 


Diehard collectors will camp outside a particular booth the night before, waiting to snatch up a favored piece by one of the artists they collect. Others simply wander, admiring historic and contemporary interpretations of American Indian art.

In addition to traditional and historic art, you will also find contemporary interpretations, often by younger Native American artists. Here is a painting of Marilyn Monroe in Native American dress and jewelry by Albuquerque artist, Ryan Singer

Kachina dolls are very popular at Indian Market. Kachinas are often compared Catholic saints, in that they are intermediaries, spirits who intercede for humans with the deities. A kachina can represent anything in the natural world or cosmos, from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon, or a concept. Although not typically worshipped, each is viewed as a powerful being who, if given respect, can use his particular power for human good, bringing rainfall, healing, fertility, or protection, for example. 

Jewelry and metal crafts are very popular at Indian Market. More than iron, copper, and brass, the Navajos revered silver, the 'metal of the moon.' 

When visiting Indian Market, try to find examples of featherwork. For Native Americans, a feather isn't just something that falls off a bird. Rather, the feather symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, freedom, and many more things. Once an Indian receives a feather, he must take care of it, and many will hang it in their homes. If an Indian is given an eagle feather, it is one of the most rewarding items. Indians believe that eagles have a special connection with the heavens since they fly so close.

But of course you will pottery at Indian Market. And lots of it.

As Sheila Tryk describes in her book [Santa Fe Indian Market; Showcase of Native American Art, 1993, Tierra Publications]:

"Pottery is made of the earth, a visible bond between the people and the land. It is utilitarian, providing storage containers for grains and water, cookpots for everyday living, and bowls for eating. It is ceremonial, used in every religious occasion from baptisms to funerals. It is art, a fusion of sculptured forms and surface decorations. It is history, providing glimpses of the way life was a thousand years ago. It is literature, each pot telling the potter's story, holding part of the artists spirit. It is life."


Best of Show. Santa Fe Indian Market, 2008

The centerpieces of Indian Market are the Best of Show Ceremony and Previews of Award Winning Art, where more than $100,000 in prize money is awarded.

Held on the eve of the Indian Market, a work of art is selected from hundreds of submissions as the winner of Best of Show. It is the most prestigious and important award in the Native arts world. 

In 2008, Sheldon Harvey took home the esteemed award, in only his fourth year of participating in the Market. 

Harvey's execution and materials are contemporary, but rooted in traditional stories from his childhood in Lukachukai, Arizona, near the Four Corners area. 

For more information about the Santa Fe Indian Market, visit the website: