Call it the year of the woman at this year’s Santa Fe Indian Market.
The theme, “Rise and Remember: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women” calls into focus not just the many contributions of mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, but brings attention to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in Indian Country.
That’s because Indian Market always has been more than a time to celebrate art and culture. The energy gathered in Santa Fe during Indian Market week necessarily raises awareness of issues important to the nation’s Native people. This year, one spotlight is aimed at raising awareness of the harm to Native women taking place across the United States and Canada.
As America Meredith writes in The New Mexican’s 2019 Indian Market magazine, “The general public is not aware of this situation and news outlets ignore it, because, as the Reclaiming Native Truth research project revealed, one of the most fundamental problems Native people face in the United States is invisibility.”
At Indian Market — and in New Mexico, thankfully — Native people are not invisible. And that’s as it should be, since our very country and this city were built on land belonging to indigenous tribes. Throughout the events of Indian Market, we can celebrate their contributions to our region’s culture, history and economy — all while enjoying the sizzle of this special week.
Market week also serves to remind those who attend, many of whom are not from Santa Fe or New Mexico, that Indians are still here. Meredith again, from Indian Market magazine: “The general perception is that Native Americans exist only in the past.”
As she points out, that’s why “the act of convening almost 1,000 living Native American artists to meet and visit with the public — as Santa Fe Indian Market does — is a powerful one.”
Put on by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, Indian Market has been enabling artists to make a living and share their stories with visitors for almost 100 years. This year is the 98th annual market, a testament to the staying power of hand-made creations based on ageless traditions and contemporary visions.
As all of Santa Fe knows, Indian Market is “the” week of the summer. A recent study by Southwest Planning and Marketing figured the market’s economic impact at $165 million last year, with 56,500 visitors and total gross receipts taxes from spending at the event at $5.63 million. For the city of Santa Fe alone, gross receipts taxes are estimated at $2.28 million, according to the report.
That, by the way, doesn’t include the spending by artists who live in the city of Santa Fe or at nearby pueblos and who spend their dollars here year-round — market may be a week, but it’s where many families make the bulk of their living for the year. Indian Market is an economic engine for Santa Fe.
The market spins off auxiliary events as well, including We are the Seeds art and culture market at the Railyard on Thursday and Friday and the Free Indian Market on Saturday and Sunday at the Scottish Rite Center. There are fundraising dinners from various Indian rights organizations, galas, parties and gallery openings, all timed to coincide with market week. (For all the events as well as informative stories about market and its artists, pick up Indian Market magazine, available online, at the newspaper office at 202 E. Marcy St. and at hotels and racks around town.)
Indian Market week brings together the artists, the issues, the buyers and the supporters, creating a mix unlike any other in Santa Fe. During this week, Santa Fe is at its best.