NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Businesses that specialize in the sale of Native American art and jewelry are struggling to keep their shelves stocked. The reason? Reservations were not allowing outside visitors onto their land during COVID-19. That left businesses unable to travel to purchase art.
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“We’ve had a hard time getting traditional Native art from the Navajo reservation and the different pueblo groups in New Mexico because the tribes have been closed they have not had access to their materials they haven’t been as active doing this because of the pandemic and it’s been hard for them to come and hard for us to go,” said Penfield Gallery of Indian Arts Business Owner Ruth Reidy.
Reidy says it’s been stressful for both business owners and Native American artists because the shortage goes beyond jewelry and includes all handcrafted art.
“Pottery from both the pueblos and the Navajo reservation. I would say Navajo sand paintings which we carry a number of. We’ve gotten some Navajo folk art, the pueblo storytellers and other pueblo groups we’ve had difficulty getting,” said Reidy.
Reidy hopes the number of art pieces for sale will increase as access to the pueblos and reservations increases. Officials from Santo Domingo Pueblo say they are continuing to restrict access because of a rise in COVID cases but Zuni Pueblo and the Navajo Nation do not have access restrictions.