Frequently Asked Questions

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) brings Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships. We move forward with a lot of motivation and determination to learn from this experience, creating an even better Santa Fe Indian Market for all to enjoy.

Is SWAIA in financial trouble?

No, we have a dedicated group of staff and board of directors who work hard to ensure that all financial requirements are met and that the organization is in good financial standing, which it is.

Has a line of credit been secured?

Yes.  In order to accommodate the budget developed by the former Chief Operating Officer a line of credit was needed to ensure SWAIA could keep its financial commitments.  This is a short-term revolving line of credit, the kind secured by almost all businesses to address fluctuations with cash-flow.  We anticipate the line will be repaid in full during the summer months leading to Indian Market (the primary source of expenses and revenue for the organization).

Are there policies and procedures in place to ensure that all SWAIA funds are handled safely and properly?

Yes.  The policies and procedures are in accordance with fiduciary obligations and generally accepted accounting principles.  For example: the SWAIA treasurer reviews all bank and investment statements monthly, after the SWAIA finance director has balanced the books. The finance director and treasurer work together to compile reports for the quarterly meetings of the board, and required reports are promptly filed with the state. Two individuals to ensure correct use of funds process all incoming and outgoing checks. The Board’s Executive Committee reviews financial statements and cash levels monthly or more frequently.

Are there any outside checks and balances on SWAIA finances?

Yes. SWAIA annually obtains a thorough and independent outside audit in accordance with federal and state regulations governing corporations and nonprofits.

As found on our website, here is a link to the Attorney General’s office with our public reports.

Are there limits on how the staff leadership and board can spend money and enter into contracts?

Yes. All contracts, salaries or other outlays of money more than $5,000 must be reviewed and approved by SWAIA’s Executive Committee before any staff member signs them.

Why did John Torres Nez leave?

Mr. Torres-Nez resigned of his own accord.  There was no advance discussion of his resignation with the Board or the staff.

To strengthen SWAIA’s long-term financial position, the Board of Directors has been gradually implementing changes in the way SWAIA does business.  Some employees do not embrace change easily, despite its benefit to our artist community, staff and the organization as a whole.  Perhaps that might have been the case with John.  As we have said, we regret his decision; but the Board must consider what actions will make the organization strong and sustainable, even if those are not acceptable to all.

Who is filling in as COO?

Dallin Maybee, Northern Arapaho and Seneca, has been announced as the Interim Chief Operations Officer. In addition to being an award-winning artist, international performer and lecturer, Dallin has a Juris Doctorate from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. Dallin’s work is in several public and private collections worldwide including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. 

In his role, Dallin will ensure the success of 2014 Indian Market through coordination of booth assignments, logistical arrangements, and interaction with our various partners including the City of Santa Fe and its merchants, and close coordination with the artists themselves. 

Were staff work days cut or adjusted?

Yes.  In order to accommodate our cash needs and the budget established by the former COO, difficult decisions needed to be made including reduction of staff hours.  These cuts are temporary and the five-day week will be reinstated in the next few weeks.  The temporary change was made in lieu of any permanent staff reductions.

What is the interaction like between the SWAIA Staff and Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors defers all staff or personnel issues to the respective COO and CDO. This changed with the abrupt departure of the COO. In order to ensure that current projects and plans for the upcoming Indian Market and other related events continue as planned, staff members report directly to the two officers, and have limited direct involvement with the Board. SWAIA anticipates hiring either a temporary or permanent COO in the very near future.

Has a public relations firm been hired by SWAIA?

Yes.  In the absence of the PR/Marketing director during this leadership transition, the Board felt it was necessary to engage a firm with an expertise in managing this function.  The firm has an expertise in large scale events and public relations.

Will the recent leadership changes affect this year’s Market?

No. Our dedicated staff, volunteers and board of directors are working hard to ensure that this year’s event continues to move forward as planned. As a team, we are working diligently to put on a spectacular show, as always.

Have there been any cancellations from artists?

No.  We have received no direct communication from any artists who are planning on not participating in this year’s market. We have a full list of over one thousand participating artists and a waiting list of over 100 artists. We remain in regular contact with many of the artists.

Is it true that there are plans to start a new market in Santa Fe?

We are aware of an online petition that is proposing a new market in Santa Fe. Despite the number of signatures, few artists have signed it. We are not connected with this petition and can’t offer any details on the group’s intentions.

Do Native Americans help plan the Santa Fe Indian Market?

Yes, Native Americans are integral to both the planning and execution of Market.  Our operations staff is primarily Native American, while the Board of Directors is 70% Native Americans, and five of them are artists. A large portion of our volunteers –who number over 1,200 during the year –and our seasonal staff is Native. This is a non-profit organization which raises its modest operating budget every year without taking a percentage of artists’ sales.  In return, the Santa Fe Indian Market provides a platform for established and aspiring Native/Indigenous artists to nurture and sell the art they create.

As an artist, how can I help?

Tell your story: through Facebook, while in the community or through a letter to your local paper, explain why you participate in the Santa Fe Indian Market and why it’s important to you and the community to be involved. If you’ve made a donation for the Market Live Auction Gala, please send us an image of the item with a note on why you donate to the organization; we would like to use the image and story to share with our social media audience.

You can also help by advertising in our August Santa Fe Indian Market issue. For more information, please email or visit

Talk with SWAIA

We hope that the answers provide some clarity on the situation.

If you have any additional questions or feedback, please contact us directly through our forums or contact form.

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The Santa Fe Indian Market exists to provide a platform for established and aspiring Native/Indigenous artists to nurture and sell the art they create. We value your support, participation and input. If you have any additional questions or feedback, join us on our forums.

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