Santa Fe, New Mexico

     On Wednesday morning we arrived in Santa Fe, the capitol of New Mexico.

   We wandered around the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in downtown Santa Fe, which was founded in 1714. It was built after a Pueblo uprising destroyed a previous church in 1680. It’s open to tourists all day and still serves its main function as a Catholic Church serving the Santa Fe community through various ministries.

Cathedral Of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico
     Down the street and outside of the Palace of the Governors’ and New Mexico History Museum, which was built in 1610, is The Portal. This is a dedicated space for Native Americans to display and sell authentic handcrafted arts.

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico
     The Native American Vendors Program has been around since 1936. Authorized Native vendors sell jewelry, clothing, and art. The amazing thing about The Portal is the sense of community that has been present for decades.

Native American Vendors Program, Santa Fe, New Mexico
   Members of all nineteen New Mexico Pueblos, the Hopi, the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache tribes sell their work here. While English is the shared language of the program, it is the first language of fewer than half of the vendors. Differences in language, history, tribal organization, spiritual beliefs and ceremonial practices among Native American groups often go unrecognized.
   Nonetheless, they are profound and potentially divisive. The Portal, reckoning with these differences daily, is an ongoing experiment in multicultural cooperation. From the reservations, villages, towns and cities of New Mexico, vendors and staff members come together, despite past enmities and contemporary tensions, to form an unprecedented and enduring hybrid community.

The Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque – Volume 13

PictureNavajo Artist, L. Sandman, Santa Fe, New Mexico

     We met a gentleman who was a member of the Navajo tribe who explained how he made his artwork by combining crushed colored rock and sand. He talked with us a bit, posed for a picture, and graciously sold us a magnet for the fridge in the bus.  It was clearly not designed for life in a bouncing, bumping vehicle.


Stephen Fox, Santa Fe, New Mexico
     Finally, we met Stephen Fox, owner of the New Millennium Fine Art Gallery. Mr. Fox is a politically active community member, a writer for the OpEd News, and generally a friendly and passionate gentleman. We spoke with him about his connection to the Santa Fe community and what drives him to be both a business owner and a community activist. We discussed our plan to drive through the Americas, and he gave us some pointers for scenic routes in Mexico.  He also taught us that we don’t need to worry about getting a parking ticket when our meter ran out.  It turned out he was right!

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