Middle Aged Native American man, Allen Madahbee working on a tapestry in his crafting space.
In addition to the one-of-a-kind flutes, Allen Madahbee is offering handmade beaded moccasins, woodcarvings, rock sculptures, and original paintings inspired by his ancestors and experiences; submitted photo.

Holiday Market Features Indigenous Artists at Institute for American Indian Studies

Editor’s Note: The following article is derived from officially released information, published with few or no editorial changes. The Greylock Glass  occasionally provides our readers with such content if the information is factual in nature, and requires little to no interpretation or analysis, often when original reportage would not provide additional relevant information.

WASHINGTON, Conn. — Once again this year, the Institute for American Indian Studies located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington is hosting a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience that celebrates Native American culture. What makes this Holiday Market unique is that it offers both deeply traditional crafts and more contemporary artistic expressions rooted in Native American cultural experience. Artists represented here are some of the finest working in the area today. It is a celebration of Native American diversity and inspiration.

The Holiday Market throughout the Institute’s impressive exhibition galleries takes place on Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26, and Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3. The final weekend for the holiday market is on Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10. The market is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. This is one of the few Holiday Markets that showcases only Native American-inspired artwork.

There will be gifts to choose from including Native American jewelry, paintings, photography, apparel, and candles, to decorative gourds, pottery, rattles, flutes, and more at a variety of price points. The chance to talk with the artists who have created these one-of-a-kind objects and to learn about the culture that inspired them makes your gift purchase even more meaningful.

Native American beaded moccasins.

For music lovers, musicians, and collectors, the magical-sounding authentic Woodland Native American flutes handcrafted by Allen Madahbee are truly unique. Madahbee is an Anishinaabe, born on Manitoulin Island, and is a registered Native American in Canada and the United States. In addition to the one-of-a-kind flutes, Madahbee is offering handmade beaded moccasins, woodcarvings, rock sculptures, and original paintings inspired by his ancestors and experiences.

Another vendor, Kim Lewis from Native Visions will be offering an astounding array of Native American Art from Oklahoma and the Southwest including a fine selection of original paintings and prints, Zuni Fetishes, silver jewelry, pottery by Mel Cornshucker, plus Hopi, and Navajo Kachinas.

A long-time favorite of the Holiday Market is Primitive Technologies, a nationally known small business that has worked with everyone from filmmakers to museum curators to recreate the material culture of prehistoric Native American life. They offer exquisite wood-fired replica pottery, hand constructed from local river clay, hand-carved flint arrowheads and flint animal necklaces, carved stone art, traditional stone tools, containers made out of natural materials, unusual jewelry, and decorative gourds.

Decorated Gourds

Jeanne Morningstar Kent, a recognized Abenaki artist and enrolled member of the Nulhegan Band, Coosuk-Abenaki of Vermont will be offering her artfully crafted decorative gourds in all sizes. Kent’s work is housed in many museum collections including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian Studies, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Roger Williams University, Chimney Point Museum, and many more. What makes these gourds unusual is that they utilize traditional Abenaki and Wabanaki designs.

Brandy Sawyer Emmans of Cherokee descent and owner of bthunder will once again be at the holiday market. Runway model for the Sky Eagle Collection, Native American educator, and advocate for MMIW (Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women), bthunder offers an evocative selection of contemporary Native American-inspired art, jewelry, apparel, candles, and accessories.

Close-up photo of Bottles of naturally scented bath and body oils, liquid smudge, and smudge mist.

Not to be missed is Eva Newell, of Nauset and Cree descent and an enrolled member of the Pokanoket Wampanoag Tribe. Newell is offering distinctive hand-cut glass mosaic vases. These one-of-a-kind art pieces depict Native American culture and legends and tell some of Newell’s favorite stories from her Native heritage. Newell’s baskets are also extraordinary. Eva will be participating during the December 9th and 10th market only.

The Museum’s Gift Shop will be open and brimming with gifts large and small in many price ranges. Here you will find a distinctive collection of Native American jewelry, including wampum jewelry crafted by Annawon Weeden, Mashpee Wampanoag, and Pequot artist Dan Simonds, head of the Wampum Wear Collective. A highlight is the jewelry and gift items from Eighth Generation, owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe in Seattle, which partners with Native artists across the country. The result is some of the most beautiful and authentic items available. For foodies, there is a wonderful selection of traditional Native American food products from Sweet Grass Trading Company from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. And, in the spirit of the Metis culture, Pemmican Patty’s products offer a selection of bison berry-blended jerky that will connect you with Native foodways and nutrition. The gift shop also has a good selection of books and children’s items.

Long shot of displays on tables in a Native American Museum and Gift shop

Although entrance to the museum and the Holiday Market are free, donations are always appreciated. A tour of the museum for a nominal fee is a fun and insightful experience that compliments this unique shopping experience. 

About The Institute for American Indian Studies 

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located at 38 Curtis Road, Washington, Conn.

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