Indian Market launches tonight with first-ever kickoff party

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

GALLUP, August 15, 2013

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(Courtesy photo)

The 2012 Native American Clothing Contest featured contestants of all ages, including this little boy showcasing a traditional outfit as he plays with an award ribbon.

W ith summer winding down there is still time to get in that final getaway, and the South Western Association of Indian Arts' annual Santa Fe Indian Market might be the place to do it.

If you enjoy Native American films, hip-hop fashion shows, Native American clothing contests or just wandering around one of the nation's largest Native American markets, then the downtown plaza in Santa Fe, N.M. is the place to be this weekend.

On its 92nd year, the Indian Market hosts over 1,100 artists from across the U.S. and Canada, and attracts at least 150,000 visitors to Santa Fe from all over the world, said Public Relations Director Tailinh Agoyo.

"You just get to see how vibrant and alive Native culture is," Agoyo said.

Agoyo said "there is nothing like it in the world," and the Indian Market has the ability to "just give you chills walking down the street."

"Not only does it represent Native cultures and arts of today, when you walk down the street during the big weekend there is such a diversity," Agoyo said, adding that the hallmarks of the Santa Fe Indian Market are quality and authenticity.

"It's the largest celebration of Native arts and culture of the world," Agoyo said, noting that over 220 tribes are represented during the market.

Featuring Native American artwork is big for the association. Every year they select a poster artist who also creates the designs for all the merchandise produced for the Indian Market, but this year SWAIA broke that tradition.

For the first time ever SWAIA produced an artist-designed collection specifically for the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market, with Native artist Ehren Kee Natay creating a T-shirt line.

Agoyo said Natay was picked because the style of his artwork could be seen as hip, urban, funky, modern and fun.

"The designs he creates and the way he approaches his work, it just seemed like he was a natural fit to be the first artist to create our T-shirt line," Agoyo added. Natay worked with SWAIA on the designs.

"It was like creating a fashion line specifically for SWAIA," Agoyo said.

Natay was able to create four designs: Remimbres, Rainbow, Kiva Head and Commemorative. As a way to show off the designs by Natay a hip-hop fashion show will be hosted during the Indian Market on Aug. 17.

In another first for this year's Indian Market, SWAIA is hosting its first Indian Market launch party.

Agoyo said SWAIA is really excited about the launch party tonight at the Historic Hilton of Santa Fe because it's getting a lot of buzz.

The party will feature hip-hop reggae beats by Cempoalli Twenty and Quese IMC and dance music by DJ Shock B.

Besides the launch party the Indian market has a little something for everyone, even a Native American Cinema Showcase presented by the National Museum of the American Indian and SWAIA.

The showcase kicked off Indian Market week on Aug. 12 with a film called "The Lesser Blessed," and will conclude on Aug. 18 with a film called "Working it Out Together."

The film showcase has been going on 13 years, and this year they were able to show "The Lone Ranger" this past Tuesday night thanks to a partnership with Disney, said Film Project Manager Jhane Myers.

Over 20 films will be shown at the New Mexico History Museum, the Institute of American Indian Arts Digital Dome and the Santa Fe Railyard Park Screen, including short films from the winners of the Santa Fe Indian Market moving image program called Classification X.

Classification X is judged competition that presents awards to filmmakers in five different categories: narrative short, documentary short, animation short, experimental short and feature, said Myers.

"It's a fine art form, and it's a new art form for Native people," Myers said, adding that it's good to see Native stories being shared through Native filmmakers.

The Classification X award winners will be announced tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the New Mexico History Museum.

If films aren't your thing or the place you want to be, don't worry because the Indian market hosts dozens of other activities throughout the weekend, including a Native American Clothing Contest.

It's a really famous event at Indian Market, said Coordinator Ellen Watkins, because it's been going on for over 20 years. The heavily photographed fashion show runs on the final day of the market.

People of all ages and tribes enter the event as they present their clothing in categories for traditional and contemporary Native American fashions, Watkins added. Usually at least 60 people enter the competition and the fashions are very diverse.

Each contestant is allowed to enter two outfits for the competition as they compete for various prizes, said Watkins.

"It really highlights the inter-generational aspect of Market," Watkins said, noting that the show attracts families.

"It's so much about community and celebrating Native people today," Agoyo added.

Visit for the full schedule of the Santa Fe Indian Market.