|Hours:||Mon–Sat: 10 am–5 pm Sun: Noon–5 pm|
|Location:||500 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204|
|Cost:||Adults: $12 Seniors 65+: $10 Children 5–17 & Full-time Students with ID: $6 Children 4 and under: Free Members: Free Native Americans: Free IUPUI: Free|
If you live in Indianapolis you probably have heard of (and maybe even visited) the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art near the canal downtown. This year was its 22nd annual Indian Market & Festival with beautiful things for sale and to look at, crafts for kids, music, storytelling, wonderful food and access to the museum on top of all that.
Lots of art of course but a play area for kids and various events make Eiteljorg a great place to visit often. The Indian Market & Festival is one of many events hosted by the museum and it is in its 22nd year. This outdoor event had tents with people from various Native American Tribes selling art, jewelry, sculptures, and clothing. Crafts, music, storytelling and wonderful food were there as well which made this event one we spent all day at.
We arrived at the Museum around 10:15 and parked in the parking lot. The festival was actually in Military Park behind the museum but we figured we would explore a bit of the museum on our way out. We walked through the museum and down the stairs to the basement area where there is an exit to the canal. So pretty there.
A brief walk along the canal and across a bridge and we were at an entrance to the festival. They had the park gated so only those who paid were allowed in and the museum gave you wristbands to show you paid. They did have the option to pay at the entrance so that was nice. After that you were free to explore the entire market and festival on your own.
We found the museum tent first and saw all the wonderful things they had for sale. Shirts, books, dolls, key chains, flower seeds, small stuffed animal friends, candies and all kinds of goodies were there. We wanted a lot of things but figured we would wait until AFTER we explored everything. After we pulled ourselves away…or rather my husband pulled me and the kids away, we found one of the tents that had two rows of tables with all kinds of wonderful things to see and possibly purchase. There was another tent filled with just as much but we actually went through that one last.
Art sculptures by Mark A. Fischer(Oneida) were the first things in the tent that we saw. Beautiful sculptures and bronze work inspired by Woodland petroglyphs and pictographs celebrating nature, gender and Native art and culture. Eddie Morrison had these amazing carvings of bears. He specializes in creating works from wood, stone & bronze.
Jewelry in styles I have never seen that were gorgeous and of course at prices I couldn’t afford. Matagi Sorensen likes using unusual stones for his jewelry and Joe & Angie Reano use various shells for theirs. There were beautiful carvings, paintings and sculptures by Hopi artist Gerry Quotskuyva and carved Hopi pottery by Delmar Polacca.
We spent a long time in just one tent and then we decided to eat lunch. The kids were pretty hungry by then and they had picnic tables outside by the food trucks. So many wonderful smells were coming from those trucks but we brought our own lunch. After lunch we checked out the Family Craft tent. I thought it was just one type of craft like coloring but it turned out there were 4 separate types of activities.
You could color a mask and then cut it out and put it on a stick. It was the type that you would play sort of peek-a-boo with. Both of my kids of course had to make one and if it wasn’t crowded when we were there I probably would have too. One section had a necklace making craft. You chose a shell and the helpers showed you how to twist and wrap the wire around it and tied it to string for a necklace.
One area was set up with blocks, paper and crayons in order to make rubbings of the patterns you made with blocks. My daughter made one of these but my son was really focused on his mask. The last one was really cool. Solar art! They had special paper that changed color in the sun and pretty quickly too. There were all kinds of toys and trinkets to use in your pattern but once you have it set you have to be very quick to move all the pieces to the paper. If you wait too long the paper will start changing before you get your stuff on! They even had a frame for you to put your finished product in and to give it a title and sign it.
<p class=”maintextheader”>Here is a gallery of some of the vendors items. <br /><span>
Entertainment was also provided at a stage tent all day. We were lucky enough to see Story Teller, Theresa Webb. My kids mostly sat still and were mesmerized at certain points in her story. The band Scatter Their Own (I love that name) plays (self-described) alter-Native music which honors Mother-Earth and pays tribute to their Oglala Lakota culture. The Diva likes rocking out their music and the Gentleman was dancing in his seat to it the whole time.
We were very excited to see Tony Duncan, the Hoop Dancer. I was able to watch (and show the kids) a video of his world champion win and the kids LOVED it. Seeing him perform was great but what I didn’t know was that it was partial hoop dancing and partial flute playing and just music. Beautiful, enchanting music that uses a flute and a guitar and sometimes dancing to tell a story. His hoop dancing is a way to honor all of life and its creations and it is amazing.
After we watched Tony Duncan we went inside the museum to check out the Ansel Adam exhibit and some of the western and Native American Art. My kids liked looking at all the paintings and sculptures but we don’t stay in those areas too long, my kids get antsy. I do get surprised that they last at all without going crazy but they do and they like it so we try it every time.
We spend a little time in the kids play area though which is awesome. Riding stage coach, building a brick wall in a house and knocking it over, riding a wooden horse, pretending to live in a Native American house and playing instruments are all things you can do down there. We always have so much fun there.
It was an amazing event and we can’t wait to go again next year. There is truly so much to see and do and we spent almost all day there without realizing it. While you wait for next year’s event visit the museum and check out all the wonderful events they have until then.