Santa Fe Indian Market gets first woman director

Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The organizers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market have selected a new executive director, marking the first time in the history of the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts that a Native American woman will lead the organization. 

The association announced the appointment of Kim Peone on Thursday. She was among four finalists chosen from more than 70 applicants. 

"Peone's 30 years of experience in Indian Country, astute business and financial background, as well as great managerial and leadership skills were a perfect fit for SWAIA's needs going forward," Board Chair Tom Teegarden said in a statement.

A member of the Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington, Peone lives in Santa Fe. She has served tribes and tribal entities in numerous professional capacities. Most recently, she was the chief executive and financial officer of a tribal corporation in Washington state.

Described as the world's biggest and most prestigious Indian art event, the Santa Fe Indian Market began in 1922. This year's event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Board member and artist Traci Rabbit said it was a tough decision to call off this year's market given the effects on artists and the $165 million impact that event has on northern New Mexico's economy.

"We must move forward, and I am confident Kim's background and abilities will successfully lead SWAIA into the future," Rabbit said. "There are many challenges ahead for organizations like SWAIA, and the board is committed to ensure that its legacy and influence will not only withstand those challenges, but emerge stronger with lessons learned."

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