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Dallin Maybee Takes Reins of Indian Market; SWAIA and Jemez Make Pact

Dallin Maybee will serve as interim COO of the Santa Fe Indian Market following the departure of John Torres Nez.
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On May 7, SWAIA announced that it has selected award winning artist Dallin Maybee as interim Chief Operating Office for this year’s Indian Market and beyond. SWAIA will put out a search for the permanent Director after Market. Maybee actually moves from the Board of Directors to COO, and is the fresh face for an organization that needs re-tooling and a PR boost.

Dallin Maybee is Seneca and Northern Arapaho, he’s an artist, a lawyer, an ASU grad, and was raised on the Cattaraugus Reservation in New York. Dallin broke onto the Market scene in 2007 with Best of Show, Best of Division, Best of Classification and First Place, for a pair of beaded children’s books utilizing the ledger style of Plains Art. Maybee’s wife Naomi Bebo is also an attorney, beadwork artist, model and dancer, and they have two girls and a son. He comes from a long line of beadworkers including Bob Spoonhunter, Agnes Logan, and Rebecca Maldonado. His brother is Ken Williams, Jr, also an award winning beadwork artist.

Poster for the 2013 documentary 'Tapia,' by filmmaker Eddie Alcazar. Alcazar will direct 'Johnny,' for which Bitsui has signed on.

Dallin states, “I hope to bring my work ethic and history of success to SWAIA and the Indian Market. I was raised in a community based background of culture and family and my struggles and achievements will only lend themselves to working towards another successful and productive Indian Market.” When reflecting on the organization Dallin asserts, "SWAIA represents an incredible cross section of some of the most beautiful aspects of Indian Country, We need artists and their families to be willing to continue to help SWAIA grow and evolve.” He elaborates, “SWAIA’s Indian Market cannot exist, it cannot be beautiful without the artists, yet that growth must come from proactive and positive efforts. This organization has overcome various obstacles during its long history and it will persist—I hope to contribute what I can to that beautiful, living piece of art that is the Santa Fe Indian Market.” Dallin’s remarks align with SWAIA’s mission statement: Bringing Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships.

RELATED:A Letter to SWAIA Artists Regarding the Departure of John Torres-Nez

There is no doubt Dallin Maybee can lead the Market and be supportive of the artists concerns and count on the support of SWAIA artists and organization members. Any issues that remain are with the Board of Directors, who are now on their fifth Director in the last ten years, along with five resignations by Native staffers in the last couple years. The trio of John Nez, Paula Rivera, and Tailinh Agoyo who formed the rival Indigenous Fine Art Market, actually ran the Santa Fe Indian Market's day-to-day operations, interfacing with artists, the city and other Market partners (institutions, businesses, and organizations). 

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SWAIA will count on new staff as well as volunteers who have been with them for years -- like Mary Charlotte Grayson, who is head of Artist Services and Volunteer Coordinator -- to continue doing the legwork for pulling Market together. Several artists have promised to volunteer and help out SWAIA, but no one knows what the shakeup will amount to until all booth fees are collected and deadlines passed. SWAIA expects the full complement of 1,100 artists.

RELATED:Mavericks: Trio Founds IFAM to Challenge Santa Fe Indian Market

In a new development, SWAIA announced an agreement with Jemez Pueblo to support and endorse its local artists markets. John Paul Rangel said SWAIA wants to make similar deals with “as many tribal entities as possible” and it was one of several talks going in when the new team came on board. SWAIA only puts on two shows (with the Winter Market) a year, while the Pueblos throughout the state put on several art shows. Jemez Governor Joshua Madalena said SWAIA’s backing gives these groups and shows credibility. He also said that “SWAIA is standing by its mission statement to provide opportunities for artists and promote Native Arts, especially in rural country.”

This is the 93rd year for Indian Market, and recent numbers say Market draws about 150,000 visitors and generates about $140 million in sales of art, gas, food and lodging.

For more info about SWAIA and Indian Market, contact: John Paul Rangel, PhD, Director of PR & Marketing, SWAIA, 505.983.5220,

Alex Jacobs, Santa Fe NM
May 27, 2014

Alex Jacobs is a poet and visual artist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.