Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Native Uprising:
The Haute Ticket in Town

One of Wendy Ponca’s most exciting ventures included the co-founding of Native Uprising, the first known large-scale Native fashion and clothing design cooperative effort of its kind. This group consisted of over a dozen IAIA students and alumni who operated as fashion designers, models, hair and make-up artists, photographers, performers, emcees and set designers.

The creativity and rebellious fashion statements made by this group essentially forced the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts to create new categories for their annual Santa Fe Indian Market. This group sought to promote fashion design as a valid art form, deconstruct stereotypes, and encourage a broader understanding of Native cultures. This collective fueled a movement that made Santa Fe a recognized center for Native couture and nourished a love for fashion in Santa Fe. ‘The City Different’ continues to influence the non-Native fashion world, and many established designers look to Santa Fe for inspiration.

Fashion show by the fashion design collective Native Uprising, ca. 1990s. Courtesy of the Archives of IAIA.

Shirt by Marcus Amerman (Choctaw) and Erica Ekerstrand, ca. 1984. Buckskin and glass beads. Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

IAIA student models a hide shirt by Amerman and Ekerstrand, ca. 1980s. Courtesy of the Archives of IAIA.