'Indigenous Futures' explores the future of Native people

‘Indigenous Futures’ includes film, fashion and artwork exploring the future of Native people

“New Myth,” Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara-Lakota), 2021. (Courtesy of Garth Greenan Gallery and Cannupa Hanska Luger)

When Santa Fe Indian Market shoppers tire of the heat and the crowds, they can stop by the La Fonda rooftop this weekend to see more art and learn about “Indigenous Futures: Envisioning the Next 100 Years.”

Co-sponsored by IllumiNative, a Native women-led social justice organization partnering with the Southwestern Association for Indian Art, the market’s umbrella organization, the event includes panel discussions, film, fashion and artwork exploring the future of Indigenous people.

“Seventy-eight percent of Americans know little to anything about us,” she said Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), founder and executive director of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based IllumiNative.

“Over the course of history, Native artists were not only exploited and objectified, but in its beginnings, Native artists also weren’t even allowed to attend, let alone sell there,” she said. “On their centennial anniversary, we wanted to not only celebrate Native art, cultures, leadership and the beauty of our humanity, but reclaim our narrative and power.”

Most Americans are exposed to racist mascots and stereotypes of pitiful alcoholic Indians who get government money for free, she added.

“It’s a 100-year history that’s been far from positive; it’s been exploitative,” she said.

Panel discussions will focus on women’s leadership and gender issues, the future of Indigenous TV, climate change and the meaning of climate justice.

“What does it mean to preserve our Indigenous culture and our art and spiritual lifeways?” Echo Hawk asked.

Curator, featured artist and Chemehuevi photographer Cara Romero will bring works by 22 well-known Indigenous artists, including Diego Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), Rose Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), Dyani Whitehawk Polk (Sicangu Lakota), Adrian Standing Elk Pinnecoose (Navajo/Southern Ute), Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara-Lakota), Nani Chacon (Din é ) and more.

Joey Montoya, founder and CEO of the San Diego-based Urban Native Era, will bring fashion to the event.

“Santa Fe Indian Market is the epicenter of Indigenous jewelry, fashion and design,” he said. “It’s the fashion week of Indian Country built by Indigenous thought leaders and visionaries. This year’s market will set the precedent for the next 100 years.”

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