Pueblo Pottery and the Politics of Regional Identity


Identity, whether regional or personal, is a matter of essences and incidentals: of asserting some characteristics as core and relegating others to an epiphenomenal periphery. An older regionalism, for which the essays in Jensen (1951) stiff offer the best testimony, treated the construction of regional identities as a process of discovery. The identity of the Southwest has long been probed in this way, beginning with works such as Charles Lummis's The Land of Poco Tiempo (1893) and Ross Calvin's Sky Determines (1934). This conference, though, is part of an opposite move toward seeing regional identities themselves as socially constructed, as partial images that are struggled over within the region. Knitting together an image of a consistent whole is, for an individual, the key to acquiring and maintaining a social being. Identity is no less crucial at the level of large-scale social units, in which the legitimacy of political and cultural projects is at stake.
Regional identity, removed from its material roots in soil, climate, core cultural traits, and so on, presents peculiarly difficult problems for analysis. If regional identity does not rest on real distinctions between core and periphery, why is it such a persistent concept? What difference do competing versions of the core characteristics of a region make in the social life of a society, and how do people go about making those versions matter? If the Southwest is represented by some as a recreational playland (Weigle 1989), why are they doing it, and what are its consequences? Most importantly, how do people with particular goals actually use their version of the identity of a region to achieve concrete political ends?
In this essay I explore the contested nature of regional identity in northern New Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s through an examination of an organization dedicated to reviving the traditional pottery of the Pueblo Indians.1 The Indian Arts Fund (IAF) was founded in Santa Fe in 1925 to collect traditional Pueblo pottery, to provide a reference for contemporary potters, and to develop a market for traditional pottery. It set itself against the cheap rain gods, ashtrays, and flower vases produced for tourists. The IAF's notion of tradition, its evaluation of contemporary pottery production, and the consequences of its efforts for the pottery market and for Pueblo economies are subjects of a larger study of which this essay forms one part. I want now, though, to direct attention to the IAF's membership (in particular, its original trustees), a diverse group including reformers involved in Indian affairs, modernist artists, archaeologists, writers, dealers, and politicians.2 In particular I ask why the IAF's members came together around sponsorship of Pueblo pottery and thus contributed to the construction of a regional identity centered on the Pueblos.
At first glance the IAF appears as another representative of a much broader phenomenon: a romantic interest in the arts of Native Americans and other "primitive" cultures as a reaction against modernity and change. The membership of the Fund supports this interpretation, albeit with some anomalies. Various writers have identified a strong strain of romanticism in the Santa Fe and Taos art colonies, and Indian reform organizations were clearly shot through with similar sentiments, with a strong touch of paternalism (Brody 1971; Frost 1980; Gibson 1983). Others of the Fund's members may well have been motivated by a serious involvement in Pueblo pottery. For some, most notably Kenneth Chapman, this interest may properly be termed consuming. (Chapman, an artist and student of design, wrote books on the pottery traditions of Santo Domingo [1936] and San Ildefonso [1970], and even his doodles were invariably Pueblo pottery designs.)
The problem with these explanations is that the connection between these sentiments, which were undoubtedly widespread, and the founding of the Indian Arts Fund is too tenuous. The link translating cultural tendencies into organizational form is missing: how did romanticism yield decisions by these particular people to organize around Indian arts, and by others not to? More generally it is important, I believe, not to stop with broad labels (whether romanticism, anti- modernism, paternalism, or others) in explaining action around regional identity in the Southwest. The danger in such concepts is that they can be simply redescriptions at a higher level of abstraction, not explanations. In addition to the pitfalls of tautology, it is too easy to assign action to vague cultural tendencies and to lose the benefits of a deeper probing into the politics of what people were doing.3 We need to ask, for cultural revivals and other efforts with implications for regional identity, why these people, at this time, with these goals?


In examining these questions for the Indian Arts Fund I follow the work of a number of sociologists, notably Pierre Bourdieu and Paul DiMaggio, who argue that patronage and cultural sponsorship play an important role in conflicts among status groups. DiMaggio (1982), for example, has linked the founding of several high-culture institutions in Boston in the nineteenth century to challenges to the political and social dominance of the Brahmins. Bourdieu's more general notion of "cultural capital" identifies control over valued cultural objects and pursuits as a strategy for reproduction of an elite (Bourdieu & Passeron 1977; Lamont & Laureau 1988).
This argument, which posits a kind of status halo effect linking patrons and art, does not quite work for the IAF. Native American art is now, in part because of efforts of groups like the IAF, a legitimate status item. In the mid-1920s, though, collecting Pueblo pottery as art was an odd idea. Pottery did not have the status of more traditional objects of patronage. Pots were either ethnological specimens or cheap souvenirs of a trip to the Southwest. It is this connection with tourism that helps to make sense of the IAF's composition and ties it to the politics of regional identity. After the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in 1880, the pueblos quickly became one of northern New Mexico's prime claims to status as a tourist attraction. The visible signs were numerous: Indian Detours, nationwide marketing by the Santa Fe Railroad, the Pueblo architectural "revival," and so on (Thomas 1978; Wilson 1982). By 1927, for example, the success of the Harvey Company's auto trips to the pueblos demanded a threefold increase in the size of La Fonda, the company's hotel in Santa Fe, and the company reported a 169 percent increase in tourists taking the Indian Detours over the year before.4 By 1935, an estimated 125,000 tourists were visiting Santa Fe annually (Harland Bartholomew & Associates 1947). A survey taken in the late 1930s recorded that the scenery and the pueblos were the primary attractions for these tourists, a finding that has been repeated since.5 Seen over time, through promotional brochures and guidebooks aimed at attracting visitors and new residents, the shift is clear: from the Santa Fe Railroad's "New Mexico: Some Practical and Authentic Information About Its Resources" (1887), which stressed mining and land availability, to the railroad's "Old Santa Fe and Roundabout" (1923), which focused on recreation, the largest component of which was the pueblos.
As the pueblos loomed larger in what might be called the touristic landscape of northern New Mexico, they began to occupy an important economic space as well. A constituency developed that was dependent on the continued existence of the pueblos, a constituency that itself increased in size and importance as tourism became a major economic base of the region. A field-worker in Santa Fe in the early 1940s, for example, found that although few Native Americans lived in the city, "the Indian factor must be considered as one of primary significance in accounting for the Santa Fe of today ... one of the chief sources of income in Santa Fe is the tourist business, and tourism is made more profitable because visitors are interested in the pueblos and because they like to buy Indian handicraft items displayed in Santa Fe's stores" (Moke 1945).
A letter from Mary Austin, the writer and IAF trustee, to reformer John Collier on the controversy over the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District gives a useful sense of the resulting politics:

Things going forward in Santa Fe ... Will line up the northern half of the State pretty well against the south, since they are all here beginning to realize the Pueblos as an economic asset. At the best it will be a nasty situation, and I find myself greatly depressed by it. It is already rotten with politics and capitalistic interest, and race prejudice.6

Sponsorship of Pueblo pottery, in this context, was not an attempt to gain status by association with highly valued objects. Rather, it was an effort to promote a version of regional identity, to make it concrete, and to capture its political potency for conflicts in which patrons were engaged. The difficulty of this project should not be underestimated: the translation of economic shifts into political advantage takes work, both in calling attention to the changes and in establishing the legitimacy of one's own projects in these new terms. The Indian Arts Fund had the virtue, for its members, of associating them visibly with the most powerful metonym for the pueblos, their pottery, while reinforcing the power of this symbol. In the remainder of this paper I suggest, for the various IAF trustees, how Pueblo pottery fit into particular conflicts in which they were engaged and argue that the very existence of these conflicts had deeper roots in structural shifts in New Mexico society of which tourism formed but one aspect.


Austin was in fact optimistic: the splits produced by the competition between those dependent on land and water resources and those dependent on tourism, not only divided north from south, but also ran deep within the society of northern New Mexico. The two sets of economic and political interests collided over the use of Pueblo land. The immediate occasion was the Bursum Bill, named for the U.S. senator from New Mexico who introduced it in Congress in 1922. The bill would have granted title to many Hispanic and Anglo farmers and ranchers encroaching on Pueblo lands (useful discussions of the legislation may be found in Philp 1970, Hall 1987, and Kelly 1983). The measure produced a nationwide uproar on behalf of the pueblos and was eventually supplanted by legislation establishing a board that weighed the merits of individual cases and ordered land returned or compensation paid to the pueblos.7
The 1920s in northern New Mexico was a time of political flux, as the dominance of the conservative Old Guard of the Republican party, of which Bursum was a prominent member, eroded under pressure from Progressives and the varying allegiances of new arrivals (Hoover 1966; Russell 1938). The Old Guard, a coalition of Anglo lawyers, ranchers, and businessmen, depended for its support on what Holmes (1967, 148) describes as "an increasingly restive base of Hispanic voters." It was to shore up its support among these voters that the Bursum Bill was drafted.8
The defeat of the Bursum Bill shocked New Mexico politicians, signalling as it did a fundamental shift in the political balance of power. In 1927 A. B. Renehan, attorney for Hispanic and Anglo landholders attempting to confirm claims to Pueblo lands and one of the drafters of the Bursum Bill, wrote a revealing letter of complaint to an Albuquerque newspaper about the attitude of the Santa Fe New Mexican and its editor:
Dana Johnson seems be activated by the thot [sic], 'Millions for the Indians, not one cent for the poor devil of a Mexican, Spanish-American and Anglo Saxon who have made the Indian desert bloom as the rose, but every man for his own country. Usually I pay no attention to Dana's mendacity by sneers, for I have known for a long time his love for the Indian and his indifference to their Christian neighbors. I can hardly understand how Col. Bronson Cutting [the Progressive Republican who built his political career on appeal to rural Hispanics, and who owned the New Mexican] expects to make political headway with the Spanish-American when he permits his agent to become a spokesman adverse to the Mexican, Spanish-American, Anglo-American and Anglo-sajones.9

Renehan's frustration, and perhaps even his puzzlement, was quite genuine. He estimated that of ten thousand non-Indians on Pueblo grants, one-quarter would be displaced. Many of his clients had farmed the disputed land for generations, yet he saw their interests being overlooked in favor of Native Americans, who had never wielded influence in Hispanic and Anglo New Mexico. Returning to the framework with which I began, the pueblos now seemed to occupy the center of the identity of the region, while others, particularly small Hispanic farmers, were becoming increasingly peripheral.
Many of the IAF's members, including Amelia White, Margaret McKittrick, Elizabeth Sergeant, Mary Austin, and Mabel Dodge Lujan, all recent arrivals in northern New Mexico, were active in the dispute over Pueblo lands through the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs (NMAIA), formed in response to the proposed legislation (Mayhew 1984). These reformers used the IAF to call attention to the economic value of the pueblos, through their pottery, and to assert a concern for the welfare of the Pueblo Indians that out- weighed that of local politicians.
Elizabeth Sergeant explicitly noted the connection between the economic importance of the pueblos and political support in New Mexico in commenting on the effect of national publicity on local residents: "The inhabitants of Santa Fe, having been indifferent if not hostile all these years to the affairs of the Pueblos, are aroused by their success in the East to the suspicion that they may be an asset after all. All this work, time, and money has been given by a very small group, most them not old inhabitants–and the old inhabitants feel aggrieved–and we want to get their cooperation and their money while they are in the mood!" 10 The Santa Fe New Mexican of April 30, 1923 also called attention to this effect in pointing out that the movement against the Bursum Bill "has done Santa Fe a great service by advertising the unique historic, science and ethnological attractions of this region." Having been defeated on the Pueblo land issue, the leader of the Old Guard, Charles Springer, also joined the IAF, likely in an attempt to repair the political damage the fight had caused.
The failure of the Bursum Bill graphically revealed the shift in the politics of northern New Mexico produced by tourism. In placing the pueblos at the center of the regional economy, tourism produced a mass of potential supporters of the pueblos in political disputes. Hispanic farmers, on the other hand, were not tourist attractions and hence did not have a constituency dependent on their continued survival. Members of the IAF and the NMAIA, though gratified by their victory, were in fact distressed at the power of their appeals to override the interests of small farmers.
Mary Austin, for example, in a speech in 1923 to the National Popular Government League in Washington on the Bursum Bill, pointed out that "many of [these farmers] are as innocently victims of the situation as the Indians themselves, a circumstance which the Indians readily admit. Others of them are quite deliberately guilty of thefts which they confidently counted on the Indian Office's not resenting, which as a matter of fact it never has resented." She went on, however, to make the most important point of all:
There is another valuation of the Pueblos which must not be overlooked, that is, their value to the average American. I mean their value as a diversion, as a spectacle, as a form of entertain- ment, peculiarly our own, not too easily accessible to make them common, but just far enough removed to make seeing them one of the few remaining great American adventures. Every year thousands of automobile parties visit them with interest and delight."11
The failure of Hispanic farmers to prevail in their land claims illustrates the consequences of their lack of value on this dimension, and of their move to the periphery of regional identity.12


The second group among the trustees were modernists in the Santa Fe and Taos art colonies, which were important artistic centers by the 1920s. The first artists settled in Taos in the 1890s, and by the teens a dozen painters in Taos represented a stable community, with an identifiable style and subject matter. A Taos-style painting pictured a Pueblo Indian, probably from Taos Pueblo, usually draped in a colorful blanket or posed with a pot. The subject was handled with a concern for accuracy and realism, although filtered through the conventions of academic and studio painting of the period (Truettner 1986; Coke 1963; Udall 1984). The Taos style was highly successful by the 1920s, with artists arranging travelling exhibitions and commanding large sums for their paintings, and the Santa Fe Railroad using these representations to attract tourists (Gibson 1983;Weigle 1989).
The Taos style was challenged by new developments in the American art world, represented most famously by the 1913 Armory Show in New York. Modernist painters, critics and dealers, inspired by developments in Europe, criticized the ideal of mimetic representation, arguing instead for a more experimental art, which would acknowledge explicitly the materials of art itself and search for universal elements of design (Zilczer 1975).
The debate between modernist and traditionalist painters was carried out in New Mexico as well as in New York. Marsden Hartley, for example, publicly considered the Taos artists to be hacks, and traditionalists accused the modernists of sloppy, incomprehensible work (Schimmel 1986). The prominence of the art colonies in the broader life of the community meant that the conflict spilled over into the public arena. At one point in this dispute the local newspaper identified modernism with Bolshevism and called for the banning of subversive art from the state-funded Museum of Fine Arts (Udall 1984). A number of these criticisms used Pueblo art against modernism, claiming that modern art lacked the simple connection to nature and the natural world that supposedly characterized Pueblo painting and pottery. An article in the Santa Fe New Mexican of September 9, 1920, for example, made this point and concluded that, "In this spirit we may hope to rescue the galleries of our Art Museum from the fate which threatens them and no longer be confronted with the trivialities of 'Impressionism' and 'Expressionism.' masquerading under the name of art and drawing inspiration from a distorted imagination."
Modernist artists in New Mexico attempted to turn this criticism around by drawing a connection between what they identified as the aesthetic underlying Native American art–nonrepresentational, organic, concerned with elemental aspects of design and form–and the features of their own work which differentiated it from traditional, academic American painting (see, for example, Dasburg 1923; Hartley 1920; Lawrence 1926). The modernists associated with the IAF stressed the intrinsic value of Native American art, just as modernists elsewhere turned to African art as inspiration and justification for their work (Goldwater 1967).
They also drew attention, however, to the role of the Indian Arts Fund in educating Native Americans in their own traditions. Andrew Dasburg, one of the most prominent modernists in New Mexico, in a 1928 draft for an IAF publication, argued that "art lovers the world over recognzie the unique art instinct of the Indian" and saw the IAF as the nucleus for an "Institute of Arts and Crafts for the advancement of the American Indian." Dasburg went on to make a more specific case for the importance of the IAF's work: "The Indian of today retains his gift of art. He will continue to exercise it if given the opportunity and sympathetic guidance without which no art can develop or continue to exist."13 The IAF was thus made crucial to the continued production of Pueblo art.
What made this such a potent move in New Mexico was the centrality of the Pueblo Indians both to the traditionalist painters and to the economic life of the community. Sponsorship of Pueblo arts by modernists constituted a charge that traditionalists, while using the Indians and their arts as subject matter, had failed to grasp the aesthetic behind their art. Frank Applegate, for example, a modernist and later trustee of the Indian Arts Fund, wrote to a friend in New York in 1922 that "there are about 20 painters here, some of them moderns and some pot boilers painting romantic Indian subjects."14 This distinction, which cast traditionalist painters in the role of exploiters of the Pueblos rather than benefactors, was an important one. For the modernists, the IAF aided in claiming the authority of an important cultural icon in the Santa Fe and Taos art colonies, the Pueblo artist, to legitimate their own artistic experimentation and to counter attacks on their work.


The group with the largest representation on the fund was archaeologists and museum anthropologists, located both in New Mexico and elsewhere. The presence of these anthropologists seems to offer the easiest case for explanation: archaeologists, who were professionally involved in the analysis of prehistoric pottery, were therefore also interested in contemporary production. This was true to a limited extent: Carl Guthe, for example, one of the original IAF trustees, did a pioneering ethnoarchaeological study of pottery making at San Ildefonso in connection with the excavations at Pecos (Guthe 1925). The archaeologists, however, were not drawn to the IAF's work for its scientific value, which they saw as limited. Instead, the IAF was a convenient organizational base in the Southwest for archaeologists involved in conflicts precipitated by the professionalization of anthropology.
Archaeologists saw in the Indian Arts Fund an opportunity to establish an organizational beachhead in New Mexico in opposition to local scientists, most notably Edgar Hewett of the School of American Research, whom archaeologists located in major academic institutions regarded as incompetent (Fowler 1989). Hewett himself perceived the laboratory in this way, as evidenced by numerous statements, including a letter to Byron Cummings of the University of Arizona in 1928 describing the lab as part of "a concerted plan looking toward the control of our Southwestern field from the outside."15 (See Stocking 1982 for a useful study of the early history of the lab that stresses the role of conflict between national and regional archaeologists.)
John D. Rockefeller's interest in the IAF (he was its first major funder, providing fifteen thousand dollars over a three-year period beginning in 1926) handed the archaeologists the entree to gain support for a far larger project, the Laboratory of Anthropology.16 The lab quickly became a center for archaeology and ethnology in the Southwest. The summer field schools, modelled on the training programs at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institute, brought anthropologists and graduate students from all over the country to conduct research in the Southwest. The lab also served as a clearinghouse for Southwestern research and was instrumental in forming a ceramics assemblage that still plays an important role in reconstructing Southwestern prehistory (Stocking 1982).
The IAF was important beyond its role in attracting Rockefeller's support. Hewett also accused the lab of being a cover for eastern institutions intent on removing artifacts from New Mexico for their own museums, a charge that had some historical precedent. Casting the lab as an outsider threatened both to impel the legislature to restrict the lab's archaeological work and to deprive the lab of local support and funding. A. V. Kidder, the chairman of the lab and an IAF trustee, used the IAF to counter this charge in a letter to J. F. Zimmerman, president of the University of New Mexico.
You are perhaps not aware that the Museum-Laboratory is, practically speaking, the direct offspring of the Indian Arts Fund, an institution founded and supported by citizens and friends of New Mexico who felt that neither the State Museum nor the School of American Research was making effective efforts to gather and preserve the fast-vanishing pottery, textiles and other products of the Pueblo Indians. The Indian Arts Fund, which exists for the sole purpose of saving these things for New Mexico, has not only gone on record as heartily endorsing the aims of the Museum-Laboratory, but has offered to deposit its priceless collection of pottery with that institution, "pending the working out of a closer affiliation."17
The instrumental relation between the lab and the IAF (the lab housed the IAF's collections, and some IAF members served on the lab's board) produced considerable and continuing ambivalence among the scientists associated with the lab. A. L. Kroeber, an anthropologist at Berkeley, expressed this ambivalance clearly in a letter to A. V Kidder, on the faculty of the Phillips Academy and chairman of the lab, in the summer of 1929: "The popular-aesthetic-social demand is going to be satisfied anyway because it Will be around and insistent. Once it gets the upper hand, it will be damn hard to get any real science started. I think we ought to shoot straight at the latter. There'll be enough sag in the trajectory to take care of the wants of the unscientific."18 While the Indian Arts Fund had served as the nucleus of the Laboratory of Anthropology, and was a critical factor in attracting Rockefeller's funding and in obtaining local support, it was regarded as a distraction after it had served this purpose.
It was a distraction, however, that testified to the enduring power of the IAF's appeal: the fund continued to be essential to the lab's funding through the 1930s, particularly after Rockefeller cut back his support (Stocking 1982).


The growing importance of tourism and the pueblos produced threats as well as opportunities, even for those invested in the centrality of the pueblos in the identity of the region. In particular, artists and writers in Santa Fe and Taos struggled with businessmen over control of the nature and benefits of tourism. The most visible sign of this opposition came in 1926, when the Chamber of Commerce and a group of club women from Texas proposed the construction of a culture colony which would draw thousands of summer visitors to Santa Fe to take classes and attend lectures. Opponents formed the Old Santa Fe Association, led by Mary Austin, to oppose the colony. It is interesting to note and, as I'll suggest below, important, that nearly all of the members of the association were new arrivals, in New Mexico less than five years.19
The artists' principal objection was to what they called an "incorporated army" of tourists, organized by businessmen and producing far more income than did the artists (Chauvenet 1983, 181). This characterization of the proposal reflected the artists' understanding of the consequences of such an invasion for their role as controllers of a scarce and highly prized resource, Santa Fe's reputation as a cultural center. It was not tourism per se that artists objected to (after all, tourists formed a major part of their own income) but tourism managed by others. Their successful victory over the culture colony was followed by other battles, including an attempt to prevent the Santa Fe Railroad from sponsoring the annual Fiesta.20
For the artists, the Indian Arts Fund represented not only an attempt to revive the production of traditional Pueblo pottery, but also a way to insert themselves into the existing marketing structure for Native American arts. The most common means for marketing Pueblo pottery during this period were direct sales by potters to tourists and residents in Santa Fe, at railroad stations and in the pueblos, and sales of pottery by retailers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The IAF, through involvement in the annual Indian Fair, marketing of pots, and mounting of travelling exhibitions, inserted artists into the exchange relation between Native Americans and tourists. By tying the art colony to the economic importance of the pueblos, artists attempted to avoid being rendered irrelevant by the increasing economic importance of the pueblos.
Additional evidence of the importance that this segment of the IAF placed on this role came in the debate in the early 1930s over a government bill establishing an agency to promote and market Indian arts. (See Schrader 1983 for a history of the resulting organization, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.) Members of the Indian Arts Fund, led by Mary Austin, protested that the fund, by virtue of its experience and knowledge, should play a large role in any government effort. They particularly objected to government involvement in marketing, arguing that the new agency should instead support the fund's educational programs.21 This argument closely paralleled their case against the culture colony: it was not tourism or the commercialization of pueblo arts that they objected to, but the emergence of a competing organization that would dilute the importance of artists and writers in directing and controlling their benefits.

I have focused on the particularities of the conflicts in which the IAF played a role, in order to show how Pueblo pottery took on political significance in a range of situations. It is also important to notice their similarity. They all grew out of tensions between new arrivals and older elites: between local politicians and cosmopolitan reformers, between traditionalist painters and modernists with roots in New York and Europe, between established merchants and an influx of artists and writers, and between regionally based archaeologists and archaeologists at institutions with national status and scope. The common structure of these disputes grew out of their shared roots in a broad shift in regional society.
This shift is best described as the integration of northern New Mexico into the larger national society, economy, and polity. Before the arrival of the railroad in New Mexico elite status, particularly within the Anglo community, depended on control of one of the few lines of access to eastern bases of political power and economic capital. Merchant capitalists, for example, dominated their trade areas by access to markets for selling the produce of local farmers and for credit for buying imported goods (Parish 1961). Politicians depended on ties to Washington, which held the power of appointment to territorial office (Lamar 1970). This was actually a continuation of an earlier pattern, in which connections in Spain and Mexico, and more importantly control over trade, were important aids to status(Hall 1989, 155-64).
The extension of the railroad into northern New Mexico in 1880 marked the beginning of the end of the viability of this strategy (on the effect of the railroad see Heath [1955]; for an important analysis of the social and political dimensions of regional integration in the American West see Meinig [ 1972]). The increasing volume and variety of ties to the rest of the nation made isolation obsolescent as a basis for status and power. Elites faced a range of challenges as the trickle of contact with the rest of the nation became a flood, from competition from national firms, immigrants with different political orientations and demands and, as in the case of tourism, new and destabilizing economic pursuits. It was thus not simply tourism that put regional identity into play. It was the growing instability of an older social order, which produced new groups with a stake in a revised image of what was central and what was peripheral to the region.
As Erving Goffman (1979) points out, advertisements, which must communicate a seemingly natural set of associations in a single image, are often prime sources for locating the artifices of culture. While Goffman uses this insight to examine displays of gender roles, it can as easily be applied to regional identity. A recent ad for a shop in San Francisco selling Southwestern art, called simply "Santa Fe," illustrates well the chain of linked identities resulting from the action I have been discussing, each with its own core and implicit periphery: the ad identifies the Southwest with Santa Fe; Santa Fe, through a picture of a Santa Clara wedding vase, with the Pueblos; and the Pueblos, through the single image in the ad, with their pottery.22
That this kind of representation "works," that it makes immediate sense, testifies to the success of a century of politics and commerce around regional identity in the Southwest. Its very economy, though, is misleading, tempting us to look for the people who set out to transform the identity of the region, to move the pueblos to the center and rural Hispanics to the periphery. It is more accurate to describe this outcome as an accretion of acts directed toward other, more limited objectives. The Indian Arts Fund, for example, played important roles both in crystallizing the connection between pottery and the pueblos and in harnessing the political potential of the pueblos by calling attention to their economic importance. It did so, however, in the pursuit of far more limited goals. In fact, as I noted above, many of the IAF's members resisted the implications of the version of regional identity on which they traded. Sylvia Rodriguez (1989) makes a similar point in arguing that artists did not consciously set out to mystify social relations in northern New Mexico; mystification was a by-product of their success in marketing an image of the region and its inhabitants.
It may be that this politics of indirection is particularly likely to occur under tourism. Tourism, after all, is itself concerned with essential cores and incidental peripheries, with "sights" and blank spaces between (MacCannell 1989, 50). In a larger sense, though, it is the effort to discern identity itself that invites partial representations, in fact requires them. The problem is not that the Indian Arts Fund, or even promoters of tourism, took a stab and got it wrong. It is that constructing, regional identities is always a process of creation, never of discovery. The Indian Arts Fund and its members saw in the changed context of northern New Mexico in the 1920s the opportunity to press quite specific claims by referring to symbols which became charged, by their reference, with new meanings.

  1. I am being deliberately vague about what "northern New Mexico" includes, but I take the core to be the comparatively densely populated Rio Arriba, comprising the area centered on the Rio Grande and its tributaries from Santa Fe north. For introductions to the Pueblos, see Eggan (1979) and Dozier (1970).
  2. For descriptions of the IAF, see Amon Carter Museum of Western Art (1966) and Toulouse (1977). The IAF's original trustees were Frank Applegate, Mary Austin, Kenneth Chapman, Andrew Dasburg, Samuel Guernsey, Herbert J. Hagerman, Mrs. Meredith Hare, Frederick Webb Hodge, Alfred V Kidder, Irene Lewisohn, Mabel Dodge Lujan, James MacMillan, Margaret McKittrick, Harry Mera, Sylvanus Morley, B. J. 0. Nordfeldt, Mrs. Richard Pfaffle, Marie Robinson, James Seligman, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, Mrs. Joseph Lindon Smith, Charles Springer, Nathan Stern, Mrs. Maurice Wertheim, and Amelia Elizabeth White.
  3. The suggestion by a number of participants in the conference that we need to describe a "Southwestemism" similar to the "Orientalism" examined by Said (1978) raises similar difficulties. A body of academic writing and "knowledge," tied intimately to colonial occupation and administration never emerged in the American context, where the problems of colonialism were first seen as military, then as assimilationist. If social control is at issue, then we need to identify agents and threats. If it is tourism which produces this representation, then we need to determine whether Orientalism is in fact the most fruitful analogy.
  4. "Santa Fe and the Indian Detour to Have Largest and Finest Harvey Hotel," August 8, 1927 (Indian Detour Bulletin #9). Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe (hereafter "LAB"), Folder 89LA2.012
  5. National Archives, Denver Branch, Record Group 75 (Bureau of Indian Affairs),United Pueblos Agency Records, General Superintendent's Decimal File 1938-44, Box 28, File "660-Publications." The survey was given to 8,000 tourists, of whom 550 responded.
  6. Mary Austin to John Collier, no date [1927 or 1928]. John Collier Papers (Microfilm Edition, hereafter "Collier Papers"), Reel 1.
  7. An article entitled "Terriffic [sic] Barrage Aimed at Pueblo Indian Bill All Over the United States," in the Santa Fe New Mexican of December 6, 1922, contains a useful description of the reaction to the bill: "Seldom has a proposed piece of national legislation or a public man had to bear the brunt of such a universal press fusillade as that now being directed throughout the country against the so-called Bursum Indian Bill and against Secretary of the Interior Fall (also from New Mexico) as its alleged chief sponsor. Newspapers and magazines from San Francisco to New York, organizations ranging from the National Federation of Women's Clubs to the Girl Scouts, and art, archaeological and ethnological associations have united in this barrage, and it is doubtful if any measure so 'purely local,' as Senator Bursum says, in its effect has ever before aroused in this country such an upheaval of popular indignation." The article goes on to cite negative commentary from a wide range of sources.
  8. See, for example, Francis Wilson to George Vaux, November 6, 1922: "There is intense bitterness here amongst those who are friendly to the Indians because the Republican party has made the Bill a party measure and is using it in the present campaign as a ground for getting votes amongst the settlers on Indian lands." New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Francis C. Wilson Papers, Folder 1401, Expandable 101.
  9. Copy in New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Renehan-Gilbert Papers,Folder #68. On Renehan's involvement in the drafting of the Bursum Bill, see A. B. Renehan to Frank Bond, December 1, 1922, Renehan-Gilbert Papers, Folder #69.
  10. Elizabeth Sergeant to E.W. Hodge, February 9, 1923. Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, Frederick W. Hodge Collection (hereafter "Hodge Collection").
  11. "Speech of Mary Austin before the National Popular Government League on The Burson [sic] Bill, Washington, D.C., Jan. 17, 1923." Huntington Library, Mary Austin Collection (hereafter "Austin Collection" ), Folder AU 5 1. Austin also differed with Collier on the relative importance of Pueblo and Hispanic claims, telling him that her support for the American Indian Defense Association was necessarily limited by her concern for Hispanics (Collier to Austin, April 19, 1927, Collier Papers, Reel 1, Frame 182).
  12. While there is not space to explore this topic, the effect on social relations among Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans of tourism, has been analyzed most thoroughly for Taos by Bodine (1968) and Rodriguez (1987; 1989).
  13. Indian Arts Research Center, School of American Research, Santa Fe (hereafter "SAR"), Box "Indian Arts Fund 1928," Folder "IAF Bulletin."
  14. Frank Applegate to Mary Mowbray-Clarke, May 2, 1922. Archives of American Art, John and Mary Mowbray-Clarke Papers, Reel D169, Frames 497-500.
  15. Edgar Hewett to Byron Cummings, January 3, 1928. Museum of New Mexico,Edgar L. Hewett Collection (hereafter "Hewett Collection"), Box 37, Folder "Museum and Laboratory of Anthropology." Hewett also complained on numerous occasions that the lab duplicated the efforts of the School of American Research, a charge that was, of course, true.
  16. For evidence for this relation, sec "Report of the Survey Committee for the Laboratory of Anthropology," October 20, 1936: "We understand that Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., first became interested in Southwestern anthropology through the Indian Arts Fund, which thus is in a sense the parent of the Laboratory of Anthropology." LAB, Folder 89LA3.020.21. See also Kenneth Chapman to Howard Eric, August 5, 1931,SAR, Box "Indian Arts Fund 1929." Chapman describes the Laboratory as the "outgrowth of Mr. Rockefeller's interest in our [the IAF's] work."
  17. A. V. Kidder to J. F. Zimmerman, February 14,1928. Hewett Collection, Box 37, Folder "Museum and Laboratory of Anthropology, #1."
  18. A. L. Kroeber to A. V. Kidder, no date. [summer 1929]. SAR, Chapman Transfile #2, Envelope #52, Folder "Correspondence re Founding of Laboratory 1927-1931."See also Fay Cooper-Cole of the University of Chicago to A. V Kidder, December 9,1935: "I am not particularly interested in providing another museum for Santa Fe or the Southwest, neither am I concerned to any extent with the art development described to me by Strong. However valuable both may be, they do not in any way fulfill the ideals we had in mind when the Laboratory was established." SAR, Chapman Transfile #2, Envelope #52, Folder "Correspondence re Founding of Laboratory 1927-1931."
  19. Anonymous letter to Edgar Hewett, December 5, 1926. Hewett Collection, Box #31, Folder "Correspondence 1926, #2." While this statement is contained in a generally hostile report, the sense that the association was composed of relative newcomers is likely accurate.
  20. This effort is described in Paul A. F. Walter to Edgar Hewett, May 24, 1927.Hewett Collection, Box 44, Folder "Walter, P. A. F."
  21. See a series of letters between Mary Austin and John Collier, January 31, 1930-May 26, 1930. Collier Papers, Reel 1, Frames 191-205. On April 20, 1930, for example, Austin wrote that "The Indian Arts Foundation [sic] means business, the business of rescuing Indian artists from government futility, of fostering Indian talent, of educating the American public to appreciate it, and of finding a market for high quality Indian products. We have been successful beyond our greatest expectations. We would be very glad to count you in on this work. I think the wisest thing you could do would be to become a member of the Foundation, and avail yourself of its highly specialized aid." Austin made similar points in an exchange of letters with Secretary of the Interior Wilbur in 1930 and 1931 (Austin Collection).
  22. The ad appeared in the New York Times, May 24, 1990.

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