YFNCT and the NWT Arts Program to bring Indigenous Artists to the 2024 Santa Fe Indian Market


The Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association (YFNCT) together with the Northwest Territories (NWT) Arts Program are excited to announce a partnership with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), to bring a cohort of ten Northern Canadian Indigenous artists to show and sell their work at the century-old Santa Fe Indian Market (SFIM) from August 16 to 18, 2024.

The juried cohort of artists will include:

From Yukon: Vashti Etzel, Randi Nelson, Montana & Delaney Prysnuk, Janelle Hager, and Amy Tessaro.

From the Northwest Territories: John Sabourin, Darrell Chocolate, Antoine Mountain, Sheena Yakeleya, and Shawna McLeod.

SFIM will celebrate its 102nd year and is renowned as the most prestigious market for consumers to purchase “North American Native Craft” directly from the artist. Each year, an estimated 100,000 people and approximately 800 Indigenous artists from communities across North America and Canada attend the market in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Recognizing there has been minimal participation from the Yukon and NWT artists at SFIM over the years, representatives from YFNCT and the NWT Arts Program initiated and established a partnership with SWAIA to create this unique opportunity and support a juried cohort of Indigenous artists from the two territories to show, sell and experience the 2024 market. In addition to the two-day market where artists will experience direct-to-consumer sales and meetings with retail gallery representatives, there will also be a variety of artist-focused activities, including networking events, media coverage, fashion shows, best-in-show awards, and recognition luncheons and dinners.

“We’re thrilled to see this initiative moving ahead in partnership with the NWT Arts Program,” says Robin Chambers, Executive Director, YFNCT. “Creating space for Indigenous artists from the North to participate in an established international event further aids in creating opportunity for growth and awareness of the individual artists and the arts and culture industries in the North as a whole. We’re looking forward to learning from this project and continuing in our efforts to raise up Indigenous artists from the North.”

“The Santa Fe Indian Market is one of the most prestigious markets for Indigenous art and fine craft,” says Johanna Tiemessen, Manager, Arts and Traditional Economies, Government of the Northwest Territories. “We are very excited to be in partnership with YFNCT to bring a cohort of Yukon and NWT artists to the 2024 market, which not only has the potential to advance and inspire their careers but will also raise awareness of the quality of Indigenous art and fine craft made in northern Canada to this elite audience of art appreciators, buyers, collectors and galleries.”

This initiative provides the opportunity to showcase some of the highest calibre of Indigenous artwork being made in the Yukon and the NWT to an established and dedicated audience of art appreciators and consumers. YFNCT and the NWT Arts Program will assist with logistics of attending this international event and work with selected artists to ensure they are prepared for a successful and prosperous market.

Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association (YFNCT) Background

The Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association (YFNCT) works on behalf of Yukon’s growing First Nations tourism, arts and culture industries, representing operators, artists, cultural centres, festivals and other experience providers. YFNCT works with members and many partners across Yukon and Canada to build capacity and support the development and marketing of authentic and unique products and experiences that reflect the rich heritage of Yukon First Nations and Indigenous artists living in the Yukon. IndigenousYukon.ca

YFNCT would like to acknowledge the support that has helped make this initiative possible and give thanks to the Economic Development Fund, administered through the Government of Yukon, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)’s contribution, through the Blueprint for Yukon Indigenous Culture and Tourism Industry Development project, which has a funding total of $975,000.

“The Santa Fe Indian Market is renowned across North America and provides an opportunity for Indigenous artists to showcase their work. Supporting Yukon artists to participate in this event will help reach new markets while representing the territory and its cultural diversity. I’m proud that our government could support this initiative through the Economic Development Fund, and I look forward to seeing Yukon artists continue to excel on the world stage.”

– Ranj Pillai, Yukon Premier and Minister of Economic Development

“Northern and Indigenous artists have a lot to share with Canadians and the world, and our government is supporting innovative solutions that can get products to a wider audience and help businesses grow. The Blueprint for Yukon Indigenous Culture and Tourism Industry Development is an important project that will strengthen our northern economy and provide vital industry-building support to small northern Indigenous businesses.”

– The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

“For these Yukon artists, the Santa Fe Indian Market is an exciting opportunity to showcase the rich Indigenous cultures and talents of the Yukon on a broader North American stage. I’m thrilled for these Yukon artists to share their work in New Mexico and engage in the mentorship, partnership and exposure opportunities this event presents. Yukon First Nation representation in the arts, culture, and tourism sector matters – and we’ll continue to back these artists, makers, and entrepreneurs to grow their industry.”

– Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for the Yukon

NWT Arts Program (ITI, GNWT) Background

The NWT Arts Program, administered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI), Government of the NWT (GNWT), is a marketing initiative that helps NWT artists connect with potential customers and share the story of their art. The NWT Arts Program administers the Artist to Market Program (AMP), which creates economic opportunities for NWT artists to showcase their talents and sell their work outside of the territory. The aim of AMP is to support NWT artists to participate in an identified opportunity, enabling them to show and sell their work, as well as network with potential future clients, collaborators, and supporters in national and international markets. NWTArts.com

“I am incredibly proud to support talented NWT artists in their journey to the renowned Santa Fe Indian Market. This initiative provides a platform for Northern artists to showcase their exceptional work and demonstrates the rich cultural heritage of the Northwest Territories’ Indigenous people and communities. We must continue to elevate Indigenous voices, promote economic growth, and foster greater appreciation for the arts and culture of the Northwest Territories to a global audience.”

– Hon. Caitlin Cleveland, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of   the Northwest Territories

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Background

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is a non-profit organization supporting Native American arts and culture. It creates economic and cultural opportunities for Native American artists by producing and promoting the Santa Fe Indian Market, the biggest and most prestigious Indian art event in the world since 1922; cultivating excellence and innovation across traditional and non-traditional art forms; and developing programs and events that support, promote, and honor Native artists year-round. swaia.org

“Santa Fe Indian Market is about bringing the best of the best Native artists to one prestigious forum. We are excited to partner with the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association and the NWT Arts Program to bring the fine artistry of our most northern relatives to our 102nd Market.”

– Jamie Schulze, SWAIA Executive Director (Northern Cheyenne / Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate)

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association

Erin Symington
Manager, Arts Development
(867) 667-7698 ext. 206

NWT Arts Program, ITI, GNWT

Johanna Tiemessen
Manager, Art and Traditional Economies, ITI, GNWT
(867) 767-9219 ext. 63095

Government of Yukon, Department of Economic Development

Damian Topps
Communications, Economic Development
(867) 667-5378

SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market

Audrey Rubinstein
Public Relations Liaison
(505) 490-5029