The release of the soaring Raven stamp, a fresh Indigenous performance art series, and an exciting, enriching event for elders are all on the agenda this weekend and next week in Indian Country.

Peruse Native News Online’s event guide to identify your ideal Indigenous experience. 

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SWAIA Performances

WHEN: Friday, July 23 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

WHERE: Santa Fe Playhouse, 142 East De Vargas St., Santa Fe, N.M. Tickets are $15.

SWAIAhoopSWAIA Performances begin on Friday, July 23, at the Santa Fe Playhouse in Santa Fe, N.M. The first featured performer is hoop dancer ShanDien LaRance (Hopi/ Assiniboine/Tewa/Navajo). (Photo/ShanDien LaRance)

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) and the Santa Fe Playhouse have fused creative forces to present SWAIA Live Performances.

The monthly performances by Indigenous musicians, dancers, poets, and more artists,  will take place the last Monday of each month, with the exception of the kick-off performance by hoop dancer ShanDien LaRance, which will happen on Friday, July 23. 

LaRance (Hopi/Assiniboine/Tewa/Navajo) has traveled the country with her famous family, and was taught hoop dancing by her eldest brother, the late Nakotah LaRance. 

When she was 18, ShanDien joined Cirque Du Soleil’s Big Top show “TOTEM,” and toured the world for eight years. 

For future shows, SWAIA and the Santa Fe Playhouse are planning to match the performances with a lobby installation by a SWAIA artist. 

The shows, curated by Goiyo Perez, Performing Arts Coordinator of SWAIA, will also be streamed live. For more information, click here

Portland Indigenous Marketplace

WHEN: Saturday, July 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE: 432 NE 74th Ave, Portland, Ore. Also: www.indigenousmarketplace.org

AsdzaaPortlandThe handwoven metal pendants and necklaces of Navajo jeweler Asdzaa Olta-LaKota Scott will be available at the Portland Indigenous Marketplace on Saturday, July 24. (Photo/Asdzaa Olta-LaKota Scott)

The Portland Indigenous Marketplace is a potpourri of art, fashion, accessories, beauty and bath products and much more.

Whether you’re interested in incense burners in the shape of Indigenous Goddesses from Hawai’ian Cherokee Organics, bewitched by bath bombs bursting with surprise Pikachus and puppies from Karabombs, or mesmerized by multi-colored woven metal pendants and earrings evoking nests and flowers from Navajo artist Asdzaa Olta, there is a unique Indigenous-made item for all tastes and price points. 

The shopping, which can be done in person or online, will be complemented by entertainment including a performance by the Turquoise Pride Drum Group and storytelling by Ed Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock). 

Stamp Release Ceremony

WHEN: Friday, July 30, 11 a.m.

WHERE: Walter Soboleff Building/Sealaska Heritage Institute, 155 S. Seward St., Juneau, Alaska. Also: Sealaska Heritage Institute Youtube

RicoStampA release ceremony for the “Raven Story” stamp, designed by Tlingit artist by Rico Lanáat’ Worl, will take place on Friday, July 30, at the Walter Soboleff Building/Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska.(Photo/U.S. Postal Service)

Alaska Native culture is putting its stamp on the U.S. Postal Service. 

The new star-studded Raven Story stamp, the first USPS stamp designed by a Tlingit artist, will be celebrated at a release ceremony on Friday, July 30, in front of the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau, and on the Youtube channel of Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), a nonprofit promoting and perpetuating the art of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.

The stamp captures the tale of Raven, the Trickster of Tlingit culture, setting free the sun, and is designed by Tlingit and Athabascan artist, educator and businessman Rico  Lanáat’ Worl.

Worl is the owner of Trickster Company, which sells Alaska Native-designed art, jewelry, housewares, skateboards, basketballs, and more—with modern flair.

He sees the Raven Story stamp as a potential tool for amplifying appreciation and recognition of Tlingit culture all over the world. 

“I'm just really hoping that people are inspired by the stamp, not just by the art itself, but inspired to get deeper into it, even if it's just doing a few Google searches like, ‘Who are Tlingit people?’ ‘What is Tlingit art?’ ‘What is formline?’ I hope it is a gateway for people's learning,” Worl told Native News Online last December.

Antonio Alcalá, who served as art director on the stamp project, explained why it’s crucial for the Postal Service to feature a stamp created by an Alaska Native artist.

“A challenge with representing Native communities and Native art is that the broader American culture imagines them as not progressing… Tlingit culture and its contributions are worthy of presentation on a stamp,” Antonio Alcalá told Native News Online last December. “Stamps are one of the few ways that the United States has to brand itself. There's the flag of course, and there's money. But stamps are one of the only other official U.S. government visual forms that go out to everywhere in the country and announce to the country and really to the world that these are the things we find are important and valuable and worthy of commemorating.”  

Raven Story is now available for pre-sale.

American Indian Elders Conference

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 1 – Friday, Aug. 6

WHERE: Nugget Resort and Casino, Reno, Nev.; www.nicoa.org; Register here

“Resilience for Tomorrow…Together” is the theme of this year’s American Indian Elders Conference, presented by the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA).

The six-day event at the Nugget Resort in Reno, Nev., features a health fair, cultural dinners, bingo, a fashion show, focus groups, and workshops and symposia with topics including the Role of Tribal Leaders in Reaffirming the Value of Elders In Preserving Tribal Cultures and Native American Veterans: Issues and Concerns as They Age.

Unsilenced: Indigenous Enslavement in Southern Colorado

WHEN: Open now. No closing date yet announced.

WHERE: Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center, 29477 Highway 159, Fort Garland, Colo.

UnsilencedPortraits of Juan Carson, an enslaved Navajo youth, are featured in the current exhibit Unsilenced: Indigenous Enslavement in Southern Colorado at the Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center. (Photo/History Colorado)

A new installation by artist jetsonorama, a.k.a. Chip Thomas, reveals the faces and amplifies the voices of Colorado’s historically ignored enslaved Indigenous people.

Currently on view at History Colorado's Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center in the San Luis Valley, the exhibit “Unsilenced: Indigenous Enslavement in Southern Colorado,” combines historic photos of Indigenous captives and images from an 1865 census of enslaved Indigenous people in Colorado’s present-day Conejos and Costilla Counties, to illuminate the experiences of captives including Navajo youth Juan Carson, and slave owners like Indian Agent and first Lt. Gov. of Colorado Lafayette Head. 

Thomas is uniquely qualified to take on this project. A photographer, public artist, activist, and physician, he has been working on the Navajo Nation since 1987. There, he coordinates the Painted Desert Project, a community building project creating a series of murals spanning the Navajo Nation, which reflect respect for the tribe’s rich history. The murals are painted by reservation residents and artists from all over the world.

“As an African-American who has worked in Dinétah for the past 34 years, diving into the history of Native enslavement has been an opportunity to connect historical events previously obscured,” Thomas said in a statement. “Learning the story of Lafayette Head, seeing the remains of his 1850s home in Conejos County—and the quarters for his family’s enslaved people—resonated deeply, having just completed two plantation tours in South Carolina.”

There is no closing date yet announced for the exhibit, which is a fresh addition to  History Colorado's ongoing Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative. The initiative  centers Chicano, Indigenous, and Mestizo perspectives through its speaker series, memory projects, and exhibits. The initiative also encourages descendants and community members to share their own histories during workshops.

To participate, contact Eric Carpio, Chief Community Museum Officer and Director of Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center at History Colorado at [email protected]. 


Have an upcoming event? Email: [email protected] 

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About The Author
Tamara Ikenberg
Author: Tamara IkenbergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tamara Ikenberg is a contributing writer to Native News Online. She covers tribes throughout the southwest as well as Native arts, culture and entertainment. She can be reached at [email protected].