Well, we hope it will be an Indian Summer! Weather in Santa Fe is always pretty decent, but like everyone else, we hate to see the warm days go with the summer. And with the much-anticipated arrival of the Santa Fe Indian Market comes the departure of other beloved summer events. Next week marks the last of the Santa Fe Opera until next season, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival will be packing up its winds and horns at the end of this week. We appreciate living in a town where you can drive from one end to the other in a half-hour or less and still enjoy such world-class culture.

Seed Sister Pot by Marcus Spooner and Michael Roanhorse

Author Sherman Alexie

Making its 88th appearance, the Market is a relatively old event compared to some, but there is always new blood bringing new ideas to the fore. Tonight, Tuesday, August 17th, the Market welcomes writer Sherman Alexie for what is sure to be a lively night at the Lensic. Author of the screenplay for Smoke Signals and the novels The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Mr. Alexie will be onstage at 6pm. Always an entertaining speaker, this serious and seriously humorous author is sure to bring an interesting perspective, and at last report, tickets were still available.

N. Scott Momaday

Continuing with the theme of Native literature, on Thursday, August 19th, Collected Works Bookstore hosts an Evening of Native Literary Arts at 6pm, moderated by James Thomas. The headliner here is the dean of Native writers, Cherokee-Kiowa author, N. Scott Momaday. For many, his novel House Made of Dawn was a first view into Native life from an authentic Native perspective. Also appearing will be Navajo poet and Shiprock, NM native, Luci Tapahanso. This event is free and sure to be popular, so plan to arrive early.

Since its inception ten years ago, the Native American Cinema Showcase has grown in both quality and popularity. Taking place over four days from August 19th to the 22nd,the showcase is jointly supported by SWAIA, CCA Santa Fe and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Beginning on Thursday, August 19 at 6pm, the slate includes sixteen programs with films and videos from seven different countries playing at two venues, the Cinematheque at CCA and Bishop Lamy’s beautiful Cathedral Park, adjacent to St. Francis Cathedral. And the film showcase taking place at the Park is totally free – where can you find a deal like that in downtown Santa Fe?!?

Actor/Musician Gary Farmer

Music has been always integral to Native life, and the Santa Fe Bandstand Series, about to finish its summer season, plays its part by welcoming actor Gary Farmer and his band, the Troublemakers, along with Native Roots on Tuesday, August 17th at 6pm. The music plays on at 6pm Thursday, August 19th, with musicians Keith Secola and Micki Free and American Horse, accompanied by special guests, Shea and Casper, and the Mighty 602 Band. Like all of the Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand programs, the two-hour programs are at no charge, but expect to encounter a crowd when it’s a whole lotta music for nothing!

By Friday, people-watching will be prime, as the booths go up and the town fills to capacity. The buzz is palpable as artists prepare for the early Saturday morning excitement when collectors hustle in to vie for Best of Show pieces to add to their collections. The only opportunity to see all of the Best of Show artwork in one place at one time will be  on Friday, August 20th, at a ceremony in the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Beginning at 11:30am, the preview and luncheon acknowledges the hard work of the artists who hope to receive the coveted Best of Show recognition. With a nice discount on tickets for SWAIA members, this might be the time to join!

And the youngsters will not be ignored, as SWAIA presents Skatepoloitation! With an eye to promoting young artists and future collectors, SWAIA is partnering with Douglas Miles and Apache Skateboards in an event that features with trick skateboartding and skate demonstrations, along with product tosses and prizes. Taking place on Saturday, August 21st from 1 to 4pm, this will certainly be a change of pace from circumnavigating the 600+ booths in and around the Plaza environs!

2009 Native Fashion

Of course, the Market simply would not be complete without the Native American Clothing Contest, a fashion event for over twenty years. This competition takes place on Sunday, August 22nd beginning at 9am right on the Santa Fe Plaza, a fitting location for all to admire the artistry and innovation of both young and not-so-young participants. Local designers always bring out some local fans, and with both traditional and contemporary Native fashions on display, prepare to be inspired by everything from classic jingle dresses to steampunk design.

While we know that Santa Fe Indian Market means that autumn and the Santa Fe Fiesta are just around the corner, we welcome our Market back every year with anticipation, despite the traffic, despite the wait for a table at a favorite restaurant, despite having to park further away from downtown every year. This Market is a one-and-only, and it’s ours!