Attend Navajo Rug Auctions

One of those sought after Native American products are the beautiful Navajo Rugs. There’s quite a bit of history involved as to when and how the Navajo began making these very distinctive products.

genuine navajo blankets and rugs

Navajo blankts on display at Hubbell Trading Post on Navajo Reservation

History of Navajo Weaving

Historians believe that the  Navajo may have learned to weave from the Pueblo Indians when the Navajo moved into the Four Corners region of Arizona and New Mexico between the era of the 1300’s to the 1500’s.

Some others believe that the Navajo’s were not involved in weaving to perhaps the 1700’s. This would have been after the Spaniards entered the region. At first the Navajo’s employed cotton for their weaving products but it seems that they converted over to wool after the Spaniards arrived.

There’s some interesting history that might explain how the Navajo’s learned the craft from the nearby pueblo peoples. While historians can document that the two different tribes did not exactly get along because of Navajo raids into pueblo territory, it appears that the two tribes did indeed forge some type of friendship after the Conquistadors entered the picture.

The pueblo Indians were put into a kind of forced servitude during the first Spanish occupation of Nuevo Mexico which resulted in the bloody Pueblo Revolt of 1680. It was during and after this revolt that many pueblo Indians fled westward to the land of the Navajo. The Pueblo Revolt expelled the Spaniards from Nuevo Mexico for twelve years.

old hubbell trading post 1800's

Hubbell Trading Post in the 1890’s

The earliest pieces of Navajo weaving which can be dated and that still exist today come to us from Massacre Cave in Canon del Muerto.

Pieces of Navajo weaving dating to the years 1804-05 when the punitive slaughter took place in the Canon, were found circa 1900. These pieces contain a plain stripe pattern in the blanket’s design. This is considered a Navajo adaptation of the Pueblo teacher’s style of design.

Navajo Blankets and Rugs and the Santa Fe Trail

Commerce increased for the Navajo and the selling of Navajo blankets and Navajo rugs after the opening of the Santa Fe Trail in 1822. The trail established a busy commerce link between New Mexico which was then ruled by Mexico and the growing United States. Prior to that time the Spaniards were known to discourage trade with the U.S. The establishing of trade over the Santa Fe Trail was the single largest event that introduced their weaving products to the east.

The first Navajo products on the market were blankets rather than rugs. The change to rugs occurred circa 1880.

 

Today, there is a large market for the Navajo rugs and Navajo blankets and many Navajo’s are involved in it’s commercialization. These genuine Navajo rug products today might sell for around $800 depending on size and for many Navajo’s this business represents their sole income. The only real obstacle for their rug industry are the many foreign imitations that are found in many shops.

It’s important to know what you’re buying and while there are certainly many top-notch dealers of genuine Navajo rugs in the Santa Fe and surrounding area, one excellent auction venue in particular, the Crownpoint Auction, will allow you to buy the real thing directly on the Navajo reservation.

genuine navajo rugSee the four Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Driving the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Highway

The Cliff House of Manitou Springs

Explore Western Art in San Antonio Texas

Barrio de Analco and America’s Oldest House

The Crownpoint Auctions

Navajo weavers from all over the Southwest converge on a small rural New Mexico town to sell their decorative rugs by way of an auction.
Auctions are held usually the second Friday of each month on the Navajo reservation. The auctions is planned to start at about 7 pm and ends around 10 pm. Rug viewing begins at 4:00 PM and ends at 6:30 PM allowing the many prospective buyers to examine the rugs prior to the auction at 7:00 PM. Payment is accepted in cash, traveler checks or personal checks. The auction does not accept credit cards.
Navajo winter hogan

Navajo winter hogan, circa 1895

The auction itself is held at the Crownpoint Elementary School in the small town of Crownpoint. The town is located about 25 miles north of Thoreau New Mexico on NM 371. The Thoreau exit on Interstate-40 is #53.

Thoreau is located between Gallup and Grants New Mexico. If you’re in Santa Fe or on Interstate-40 in New Mexico on the auction dates, a visit to the Crownpoint Auction makes a very unique and rewarding side trip.

 

Buyers at the Crownpoint Rug Auction have the  unique opportunity to purchase Navajo rugs directly from the weavers themselves and prices that are well below retail. The world famous Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction is the premier venue for the purchasing of authentic contemporary Navajo rugs at auction.

 

The Crownpoint Rug Weavers Association has been auctioning rugs from all over the reservation since 1968. The auction keeps growing in popularity and brings buyers from all over the United States and the world. For additional information the auction phone number is 505-787-7386.
(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Photos and images in public domain)

How Native Americans Enforced Their Laws

Early 1800’s England

In London England during the 1700’s, a police force as we refer to one today did not exist. There were courts established by the British Home Secretary and many times the people chosen for these positions were political appointees. This was before Scotland Yard.

Ratcliffe Highway Murders Reward Poster

Justice could be quite subjective. As far as crime was concerned, it flourished, but usually at night when only the dim gaslights lit the narrow streets. At night in some of London’s most transient districts, the “watchman” would be stationed in one of the several booths established along the roadway. Hopefully he stayed awake and didn’t frequent the nearby pubs.

This system of civil protection in England would go on until 1811 when a series of murders called the “Ratcliffe Highway Murders” in the east section of London forced the Home Secretary to revise methods of crime prevention and detection and to upgrade the district courts. There is a very good book about this London incident, “The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811” by authors P.D. James and Thomas A. Critchley. The book is a great read and really offers a lot of insight regarding law enforcement in early 1800’s London.

Native American Governance

So how did the Native Americans govern themselves?

When you explore the subject of the American West in regards to law enforcement you might first assume that the rule of law was brought over to this continent by it’s European forefathers. The assumption would be that the very idea of law enforcement in the American West, the protection of personal property and the maintenance of order came from European concepts, at least the implementation of it here in the United States. The more you read about the subject, the assumption is not exactly accurate.

Cavalry and Indians

It can be argued that any organized society demands some degree of law enforcement. This was not something conceived only by European societies. Every Native American tribe had some type of system of laws. Some might be enforced by only a single leader, others by a council of perhaps a dozen or more chiefs. What is known is that many of the indigenous cultures had some type of police system with accepted powers and duties. These law and enforcement agencies within tribes were in place long before the Europeans migrated westward. It appears that the only problems with the rule of law when the two cultures, European and Native American met in the frontier, was just whose laws were to be followed?

What is Known About Early Native American Law Enforcement

When you research the history of the Western North American Natives and particularly before the years of massive European migration from the east you find that many of the Native American tribes had in effect their own security forces and laws (not codified) and their own style of a “court system”. The Cheyennes had a relatively sophisticated system set up for self governance. There was a “Council of Forty-Four” which was made up of four chiefs from each of the ten Cheyenne tribes plus an additional four elder chiefs.

Alfred Jacob Miller art of Hunting Buffalo, Indians chasing buffalo over a cliff

Along with this there was a select group of warriors chosen to put in effect whatever it was the Council decided upon. This law enforcement group would maintain discipline within the tribes and various bands and would supervise over buffalo hunts and provide military leadership. The warriors in this select group were considered the best of the warriors and in the case of the Cheyennes they were given the collective name of the “Dog Soldiers“. In fact, history ranks these Cheyenne warriors as the best fighters during the years of the American West Indian Wars. The Dog Soldiers would be the enforcement mechanism for the Council of Forty-Four. This of course included the protection of property which was important to the Cheyenne.

The Cheyennes also had a way with dealing with murder. In Cheyenne culture it really didn’t make much difference if the death of another tribe member was caused by accident or not. If the tribe member was deemed guilty of the act he was expelled from the tribe. In effect, he was banished from their society. As a historical side note, the Cheyenne’s still operate the Council of Forty-Four to this present day.

Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle

The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers

The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, being independent by nature, eventually had a changing effect over Cheyenne society. Their militaristic make up changed the Cheyenne clan system which was deeply rooted in ancient Cheyenne culture. As an example, when a man married a woman he invariably moved to the females home or home tribe. This was the rule for as long as anyone could remember. The Dog Soldiers decided to do it the other way around and this did much to erode this centuries old custom.

When the whites entered Cheyenne territory and the military pushed treaties on the Natives, it was the Dog Soldiers among their ranks who resisted the most. The Dog Soldiers refused to sign treaties. These warriors were not prepared to move to a reservation and be ruled by the white Indian agent. It was this resistance and the wars that followed that further eroded the authority of the Cheyenne chief not to mention that many of the presiding chiefs at the time were killed in battle or massacre. An example was the death of Southern Cheyenne leader and chief Black Kettle during the 1868 Washita River Battle.

Links to three additional Trips Into History articles you’ll enjoy are the Comanche Indians , the Surrender of Crazy Horse and a visit to the American Indian Art Museum in Santa Fe New Mexico.

Indian Territory map

Law Inside Indian Territory

Most historians will point to the “Five Civilized Tribes“, those from the southern part of the country who were the first forced on to the Oklahoma Indian Territory during the early 1800’s, as having the most detailed structure of inner control.

These included the Cherokees and the Seminoles. At that time within the Indian Territory “the light-horse” acted as the primary security arm. They protected the area against whiskey traders, drove out encroaching livestock and in general maintained the order including protecting personal property. Drunkenness was a common problem and the “light-horse” would typically take the offender handcuffed to a tree and tie him up there until he sobered up. Each of the five Civilized Tribes had slight differences in penalties but each did have a structure in place to maintain social order.

There are several excellent museums around the United States that feature interesting art and information regarding the “Dog Soldiers”, the “Light Horse” and Native American societal structure in general. You may wish to add these to your next road trip planner. They include…the Koshare Museum in La Junta Colorado on the campus of Otero Junior College…the Black Kettle Museum in Cheyenne Oklahoma…the Crazy Horse Museum at the Crazy Horse Memorial four miles north of Custer South Dakota…the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

The Westward Migration and American Law

Eventually, when America’s westward expansion grew, the two cultures, European and Native American would meet. The problems which ensued really had little to do with lawlessness as it had to do with possession of land. Land was the reason the Indian Wars were fought. The Indians attacked settlers to drive them from their land. The treaties that were signed and often broken had to do with the distribution of land. If Indians stole livestock, you could argue that this was a response to the immigrant encroachment on their ancestral lands.

 

Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 dividing Native American land

When you look only at the rule of law you could probably make the argument that certain Native American cultures were more civilized at times than some of the western gold rush towns. Some of these towns that literally sprang up overnight were lawless to the extreme. Drinking, gambling, theft and the occasional murder were not unheard of. Often the law was administered at the end of a rope. At this very same time neighboring Native Americans most likely had a more formal way already in place to keep the peace within their own society. The western lands were sparse and lawmen were far and few in between. Law and order, at least the European variety, did arrive. It just took time.

A History of Policing Their Own

As a final note, it should be pointed out that the western Native Americans were very effective in policing their own, even after their collective surrender to reservations in the late 1880’s.

The reservation police, who were Native Americans themselves, were usually supervised by the local federal Indian agent, but as the years and decades passed, the tribes gradually took over the administrative functions as well. Today, Native American reservations throughout the nation function as a quasi-separate government body and have their own trained police forces on the job with outside police involvement only in cases of certain violent crimes.

Excellent books regarding the subject of Native American governance and society include the Story of the Great American West published by Readers Digest, Ghost Dance by author David Humphreys Miller and The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways by author George Bird Grinnell.

(Indian Territory map from author’s collection. Remaining photos and images from the public domain)

Attend Indian Market Santa Fe

 

indian market santa fe

Indian Market Events

Once A Year Event in Santa Fe

Indian Market truly is a premier event for Santa Fe New Mexico and the largest event held there every year. There are dozens of Native American cultural events that take place during Indian Market week.  Indian Art of course means painting, drawing, weaving, clothes, jewelry, pottery and much more.

All of these are on display at Indian Market and I know you will enjoy the event immensely. You’ll also see many Native American booksellers with one of a kind items. It’s estimated that well over 100,000 people attend the event each year. These include gallery owners, collectors and simply fans of Indian Art.

Since 1922

Indian Market started a long time ago as a partnership between local pueblos and community leaders. It has been held in Santa Fe every year since 1922.  In 1922 the event began as the first annual Southwest Indian Fair comprising some 3,500 works, including pottery, baskets, textiles, silver work, bead work and paintings.Today, the event is known to be the largest of it’s kind in the world.

indian market new mexico

An event during Santa Fe’s 400 year anniversary

Currently half of the board of directors of the SWAIA ( Southwestern Association for Indian Arts) are Native Americans and most are participating Indian Market artists.

The artists are Native/Indigenous people from over 100 federally recognized tribes and First Nations tribes from Canada. Some artists have participated for over 60 years and often times you’ll find several generations sitting in the same booth. Indian market involves some 600 booths. Their artwork is actually a big part of their lives and it’s a unique way of communication that lasts a lifetime.

Indian Market Week precedes the weekend Indian Market exhibition.

Indian Market Events Held During the Week

During the week there are previews and awards handed out with about $100,000 in prize money..There are several functions that are tied into Indian Market such as the Friday night press reception, the best of show announcement, a sneak preview of award winning art and a silent auction. I would also look into the Indian market auction gala usually taking place at the La Fonda Hotel on the plaza. SWAIA also bestows lifetime achievement awards during the weekend event.

santa fe plaza

Event at the Plaza Pavillion

Another unforgettable Indian Market event is the clothing contest which is held on Sunday morning from 9A-Noon. Children and adults model contemporary and traditional Native clothing.

Bring your camera because this is the photographed event of the week. Entertainment is also presented on the Plaza Stage from 1-4P during the weekend.

In addition to the artwork displayed you’ll also be able to sample an array of Native American food such as fry bread, Navajo tacos, roasted corn and other Native treats.

Indian Market has grown to the degree that Native Americans throughout the United States are represented as exhibitors. It is probably the largest single event in this country for displaying Native American art.

Many of the participating artists have attended the Institute for American Indian Arts as well as other universities. The Institute for American Indian Arts offers degrees in Studio Arts, New Media Arts, Creative Writing, Museum Studies and Indigenous Liberal Studies. The IAIA has graduated more than 3,800 students and welcomes students from the 563 federally-recognized tribes. As many as  112 tribes are represented on it’s campus.

indian market art

Exhibit booths on the plaza

The dates for the 2014  Indian Market in Santa Fe is August 18th -24th.

Visiting the Santa Fe Area

Of course there are many more things to do in August in Santa Fe while attending Indian Market. One is the Santa Fe Opera which also draws people each year from around the country.

Several of our photo article links on our Western Trips site will give you some good ideas for side trips while in Santa Fe for Indian market. They include a drive on the Turquoise Trail just south of Santa Fe…A visit to the Puye Cliff Dwellings, a short drive north and the old Spanish Mission San Francisco de Asis in Rancho Taos.

new mexico rail runner train

New Mexico Rail Runner Train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe

Don’t forget to also visit the many galleries in Santa Fe including those on the famous Canyon Road. There’s nothing like the collection of art in Santa Fe. If you’re looking for great restaurants you’ll also find these in Santa Fe and there are very good restaurants available to fit any type travel budget.

The event is known throughout the world and you’ll no doubt see people in attendance from all over the world. Try to book your hotel early because it’s my understanding that many people book rooms a year in advance. If you’re planning on trying to attend this year’s event, it’s never too soon to book your accommodations.

Santa Fe hotels and Santa Fe restaurants are many and you’ll be able to locate lodgings and dining with little effort. The following site will give you a good list of accommodations and restaurants to choose from.  http://santafe.org/Visiting_Santa_Fe/Dine/index.html

If you’ve already attended Santa Fe’s Indian Market, chances are you’ll be back again. If you haven’t attended in the past, I highly recommend adding Indian Market to your vacation or road trip planner. It’s a very unique annual event only found in Santa Fe.

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

The Comanche Indians

The Horsemen of the Southern Plains

The Comanches emerged as a distinct tribe during the latter 1600’s. They are thought to have broken off from the Shoshone’s. Of all the Plains warriors none were as skilled horsemen as the Comanches. The Comanches are thought to have received their first horses from the Pueblo Indians after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

indian warriors

1834 George Catlin painting, Comanche Osage Fight

Comanche horsemanship started at a young age. From the time a Comanche child was perhaps four or five years old they owned a pony. Boys were known to drill every day with their horse. This daily drilling sharpened their equestrian skills to a very high degree. One type of practice a typical Comanche boy would work at was to ride his horse at a gradually higher speed while picking up objects off of the ground. At first, the objects might be small and light weight but gradually they would be larger and heavier. The boy would continue to drill with his horse and eventually be able to pick up a body from the ground while riding. This was considered an excellent trait to possess in the heat of battle. It was a skill excelled by the Comanche.

A Comanche’s horse was known to have great agility, speed and endurance. Likewise, the Comanche horse was noted for it’s alertness. These horses were known to respond instantly to word or touch. Some would say they could even anticipate their rider’s command.

How was it that the Comanches possessed such trainable animals? The answer was in their breeding. The Comanche was known to breed only the most fast and responsive stallions as studs.

The Horse Changed the Culture of Plains Indians

Since it were the Spaniards who introduced the horse in today’s western United States, there was a time when plains Indians lived without the benefit of these animals. Horses were brought into the southwest and the Plains grasslands with the Coronado Expedition of 1540. Prior to the horse, tribes lived a semi-sedentary life working the fertile soil along river bottoms. The buffalo, always an important animal to the Plains Indians, was hunted during the summer and fall.

indians buffalo hunting

1850's Paul Kane painting

It was the Indians of the Southwest, who were the first to come in contact with Coronado, who were the first introduced to the horse. At first, the Indians were only known to tend the horses for the Spaniards. As time progressed they owned their own herds. Toward the end of the 1700’s, most grassland tribes also owned horse herds.

When we see paintings today of Indian buffalo hunts we see the Native on horseback chasing and overtaking the herd. Before the horse, as mentioned above, the important hunts certainly took place but without the aid of a fast horse. When the horse was introduced to the Plains tribes, everything changed. The old village life suddenly seemed tame. Now the Natives could ride fast and dart and weave through the buffalo herds. Tribes that did not necessarily take to the horse immediately with the same enthusiasm nevertheless appreciated the freedom of being able to ride. As some would say, ride with the wind.

Plains Indians took to horses with such a skilled degree that it’s almost impossible to think of them without their mounts. Indian horses evolved from the half-Arab, half-Andalusian stock brought over by the Spaniards. By about 1800, this original stock evolved into the typical Indian pony with it’s relatively small size and shaggy coat. What’s interesting is that the Europeans who came west with their larger grain fed mounts didn’t have much respect for the smaller Indian ponies. As it turned out however, during buffalo hunts or in battle, the Indian mounts performed better than those of the Europeans.

Try our fun twenty-five question history quiz

Short History Quiz

comanches meeting dragoons

1835 George Catlin painting, Comanches Meeting Dragoons

Horse Warriors

The introduction of the horse also dramatically changed inter tribal warfare. Native Americans, like many groups, have always battled among themselves from time to time. The horse added a new dimension. A warrior was always known to keep his horse tied up near his tepee. The horse’s owner was it’s only rider. When preparing for battle a warrior would paint up his horse as well as himself. Multi-colored designs were the norm. In addition, a warrior would add adornments to his horse. This might include feathers, scalp locks and ribbons received from traders.

In the heat of battle, a Plains warrior might often drop down on one side of his horse. One leg would be over the horses back and an elbow in a sling on the horses neck. It was from this position that the warrior would operate his bow and arrow. Using the horse as a shield the warrior would shoot his arrows either from over the horses back or from under the horses neck.

map of comancheria

Comancheria area

Comanche Warriors

Many historians contend that the Comanches were the fiercest of all Indian warriors. Even more so than the Apaches. Their horsemanship skills no doubt added to this reputation.

Warfare was a big part of Comanche life. They developed methods for using traditional weapons while fighting on horseback. Their skill was apparent in Texas as well as across the border into Mexico. For decades, Comanches fought a rather running battle with Texas pioneers who were gradually moving westward from east Texas. The Comanches roamed the area called “Comancheria” as shown on the above map image. This was before and after Texas became a republic as well as during the Spanish occupation of the region. One of the main tasks assigned to the famed Texas Rangers was to protect settlers from Comanche raids. In addition to raiding white settlers, the Comanche was at various times, at war with just about every other Native American group residing in the Great Plains.

Noted battles involving Comanches against white settlers and buffalo hunters included the two Battles of Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle, the Battle at Plumb Creek in Texas, the Battle at Crooked Creek in Kansas. The final Comanche battle took place in 1875 at Palo Duro Canyon just southeast of today’s Panhandle city of Amarillo Texas.  This was the conflict that ended in the surrender of the famed Comanche warrior and half breed, Quanah Parker.

quanah parker photo

Comanche leader Quanah Parker

Comanche historians know that Quanah Parker’s mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, the young hostage taken during a bloody Indian raid on Fort Parker during the 1830’s in today’s east central Texas. Two interesting things about Quanah Parker was that he was arguably the most effective Comanche warrior in his tribe’s history, and somewhat surprisingly, after his surrender and move to the Indian Territory became a solid friend of the white man and adopted many of the white mans ways.

Parker went on to befriend many a Texas rancher as well. In 1905, Quanah Parker rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. In addition, Texas has a town named after the Comanche warrior, Quanah Texas, on US Hwy 287 just northwest of Wichita Falls. Before his death in 1911 Parker had become a type of elder statesman for his people. Two thousand people attended his funeral.

Two additional articles on our Western Trips site you’ll want to see are A Visit to Quanah Texas and the Story of Colonel Ranald Mackenzie and Fort Concho Texas.

Sites to Visit

The Quanah Parker Star House– The Quanah Parker Star House was built around 1890 for the famous Comanche warrior. Quanah had 14 stars painted on the roof of his house, a smoke house and a summer house. Funding for the construction was provided by a Texas rancher and friend of Parkers, Samuel Burk Burnette.  In 1956 the house was relocated to Eagle Park fortunately saving it from destruction. Originally located near the Wichita Mountains, the house now resides in Cache Oklahoma. Much of the park today is a ghost town, the Star House however is still host to Comanche events.

Quanah , Acme and Pacific Railroad Museum– Located in Quanah Texas northwest of Wichita Falls, this museum is a treasure trove of regional information. This museum is in the former railroad depot for a Texas town that once was a key stop on the railroads, but no longer.

Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center– This museum located in Lawton Oklahoma offers visitors a glimpse of traditional cultural items and detailed history about the Comanche tribe.  Its purpose is to allow visitors a better understanding about the Comanche People. The museum opened in 2007 by a group of tribal members.

(Photos and images from the public domain)

 

Indian Art Museum / Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

indian art museum in santa fe

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture / Santa Fe NM

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/ Laboratory of Anthropology is a gem of a museum located on Museum Hill in Santa Fe New Mexico. This fascinating Indian art museum hopes to inspire appreciation for and knowledge of the diverse native arts, histories, languages, and cultures of the Southwest. A museum highlighting and showcasing the American Indian gives us the opportunity to learn more about the first humans who occupied this beautiful part of the United States. After all, the Indians of the southwest were there thousands of years before the first Spanish explorers landed on the North American continent.

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is part of the New Mexico museum system. This Santa Fe museum originally came about in answer to the unsystematic collecting by museums in the east. An anthropologist by the name of Edgar Lee Hewitt established the Museum of New Mexico in 1909. Hewitt’s goal was to collect Southwestern Indian materials. The second stage in the development of the museum occurred when John D. Rockefeller founded the Laboratory of Anthropology which had it’s goal of the study of Southwestern Native cultures. While all of this development was going on and artifacts collected, the exhibition of the material really wasn’t open to the public simply because there wasn’t sufficient space. Finally, in 1977, the New Mexico Legislature passed a bill providing $2.7 million for the building of a new New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. The Indian art museum opened ten years later and has been a great addition to the list of Santa Fe museums.

museum hill in santa fe

Museum Hill banners

New Mexico tourism is highly connected to it’s excellent museums. Museum Hill, a very popular tourist site in Santa Fe, itself is quite a remarkable setting. Museum Hill is the site of four world class museums in one of the most picturesque sections of Santa Fe. In addition to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture feature both permanent and rotating exhibits. In addition, the museum is the venue for many special events during the year. Artist demonstrations, workshops and lectures are scheduled throughout the year. To give you an idea of past exhibitions at the museum and the type of unique events scheduled, in the year 2009 the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture featured “Native American Picture Books of Change”. This exhibition featured original works by Hopi, Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo artists who illustrated children’s books in the 1920’s through the present. Based on the book of the same title by Rebecca Benes, the exhibition focused on illustrations in Native American children’s books of the last century. Emerging Indian artists illustrated the stories for Indian students based on Native oral traditions and narratives about everyday Indian life. Exhibitions and demonstrations of this type have helped this Santa Fe museum reach it’s world renown status.

southwest indian art sculpture

Sculpture on Museum Hill

Many people spend an entire day at Museum Hill. With four world class museums available at one site along with an excellent cafe and shops in each of the museums, spending the day touring all four museums is a touring day very well spent.

For those tourist visiting Santa Fe New Mexico, getting to Museum Hill is quite easy. If you have an automobile, Museum Hill is about one and a half miles southeast of the Santa Fe plaza. For those without an automobile, the museums located at Museum Hill can be reached by taking the “M” line operated in collaboration with Santa Fe Trails, the city’s bus line. Departures start at 7:15 am from the Sheridan Street station and continue throughout the day.

Another interesting article we’ve published is Santa Fe Palace of the Governors

(Photos are from author’s private collection)