Celebrate the Work of Female Native American Artists

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Courtesy of IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts/ Facebook

Courtesy of IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts/ Facebook

Native American history in Santa Fe is best expressed in art. Every August, the city hosts Native American vendors from all over the U.S. and Canada at the largest “Indian” market in the world, explained the Navajo tribe executive art director, Ira Wilson. But the largest collection of Native American art can be found in downtown Santa Fe at The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, which puts a strong focus on female Native American artists. From art installation of missing and murdered Native Women—an infamously underreported problem that plagues many Native communities—to student art that brings attention to traditionally gendered roles, there is a host of female art on display.

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Classic Southwest Cooking with a Mother-Daughter Duo

Santa Fe School of Cooking

Courtesy of Santa Fe School of Cooking/Facebook

Courtesy of Santa Fe School of Cooking/Facebook

With more than 200 restaurants, visitors to Santa Fe are not hard-pressed to find a decent meal. But at Santa Fe cooking school, founded by a mother and daughter team, tourists will learn how to re-create Southwest flavors on their own. Chef Lois Ellen Frank, one of several instructors, is working to revitalize Native American cuisine in the contemporary kitchen. Using traditional cooking methods (like baking fish in clay) and with all locally sourced ingredients, a class with Frank is a fascinating history lesson and detailed cooking endeavor all wrapped up in one. Choose between a three-day cooking boot camp, an evening cooking class, or a restaurant walking tour with acclaimed instructors that will bring you closer to the heart of it all: the food. 

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Immerse Yourself in the Art of Santa Fe's Young Artists

Meow Wolf Immersive Experiences

Courtesy of Meow Wolf/Facebook

Courtesy of Meow Wolf/Facebook

In 2016, a group of 10 young artists that felt priced-out of the art scene in Santa Fe bought an old bowling alley (with the financial assistance of Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin) and, using dumper-dive trash finds and the work of hundreds of local artists, made it into the first immersive art exhibit. The House of Eternal Return follows storyline visitors uncover as they walk through a house, decipher clues and discover secret passageways that beg the questions of: Who was this family? Where did they go, and why? Plan to spend at least two hours here—there’s a lot to unpack— though there’s no time limit on how long visitors can stay.

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Lose Yourself in Acres of Ancestral Land

Bandelier National Monument

Courtesy of National Park Services Archive

Courtesy of National Park Services Archive

For over 33,000 acres of ancestral land of canyons and volcanoes, the hour drive outside of the city is worth it. Book a tour with Great Southwest Adventures husband-and-wife team for historical context into the national park dating back to the 1500s. You'll see ancient cave drawings, expansive views of Los Alamos national laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed, and scramble up tall ladders like the pueblo people once did to get to the top of a mesa.

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Pay Respect to one of the Great Female Artists

Georgia O’Keefe Museum

Georgia O'Keefe | © Photo by Tony Vaccaro/ Courtesy of Georgia O'Keefe Museum Facebook Page

Georgia O'Keefe | © Photo by Tony Vaccaro/ Courtesy of Georgia O'Keefe Museum Facebook Page

Georgia O’Keeffe was a renewed twentieth-century abstraction artist known for her large-scale flowers, bones, and cityscape paintings. She divided her time between New York and New Mexico, as her work clearly reflects. O’Keeffe is considered to have shaped the feminist art movement with her sensual paintings. When critics speculated that her flower paintings were manifestations of her sexuality, she publicly responded: “you write about my flowers as though I think and see what you see of the flower, and I don’t.” Download the free app for a guided tour of the museum. With it, you can easily call up any exhibit and hear short audio clips of interesting explanations, background, and tidbits. 

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Dine at this Female-Owned Eatery

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

Courtesy of Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen/Facebook

Courtesy of Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen/Facebook

Soma Franks and Fiona Wong founded this local eatery with a mission to nourish their community with sustainable foods. Their menu is international and varied, including classics like Eggs Benedict to Korean glass noodle stir-fry, and even caters to gluten intolerance. The food is affordable and delicious, and the atmosphere is casual, with small tables and one large, family-style seating table in the dining room. A bit outside the center-city, expect a local vibe and face time with the founders.

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The Country's First Female Founded Brewery

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Courtesy of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co./Facebook

Courtesy of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co./Facebook

Just an hour's drive from Santa Fe to New Mexico’s largest city of Albuquerque is the nation’s first female-founded brewery. Bow & Arrow beerhall, founded by partners Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, crafts beers with traditional local ingredients from the Southwest. Their beers range from local blue-corn brews to neo-Mexican hops.

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The Only Native American Owned Hotel in the City

Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe | © John Maclean Photography/Facebook

Hotel Santa Fe | © John Maclean Photography/Facebook

For those who wish to be downtown, Hotel Santa Fe is the only Native American-owned hotel in the city. Picuris Pueblo people partnered with local business people in 1998 as a way to achieve financial stability and independence for their tribe. The hotel has a spa, outdoor swimming pool, gym, and on-demand shuttle service.

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