Tribal Art News about San Ildefonso

New Mexico Tourism has issued the following news release.

San Ildefonso Pueblo Re-establishes Historic Cottonwood Trading Post

Balloon Fiesta poster

The San Ildefonso Pueblo Enterprise Corporation has announced the re-establishment of the historic Trading Post at San Ildefonso Pueblo, naming it the Cottonwood Trading Post.

The Cottonwood Trading Post features the work of nearly 60 New Mexico pueblo artists, including 33 from San Ildefonso, who continue to follow the traditional art of pottery making for which San Ildefonso has a well-deserved international reputation.

San Ildefonso is one of the best known New Mexico Pueblos because of the famous black-on-black pottery which originated there and which was revived in the 1920s. At that time San Ildefonso, like many other Pueblos, was suffering a severe economic depression. Long standing internal conflicts, encroachment upon tribal lands by squatters and illegal cutting of timber all contributed to the low-subsistence level to which the Pueblo had fallen. When American Indian crafts began to be popular with collectors, it was fortunate for the San Ildefonso people, because although the Pueblo population was small, there were a number of skilled artisans, makers of pottery and painters, who set to work to improve the economic condition of the Pueblo. Before long, the outstanding quality of San Ildefonso pottery became known. It was then that the famous black pots were revived, primarily because of Maria Martinez, who is credited for creating the pottery style for which San Ildefonso Pueblo is most known..

Today, they command the respect of world-wide collectors of fine art. Other artists, potters and watercolor painters came to the attention of the public and although the Pueblo is one of the smallest in population, it is among the best known, averaging more than 20,000 visitors each year.

Cottonwood Trading Post has long been a part of San Ildefonso Pueblo's history throughout the years. Although ownership has changed over the years – now owned by the San Ildefonso Pueblo Enterprise Corporation - the past is ever-present in the memories of its artists and visitors. The trading post has been remodeled and updated with the times, but original beams of the grocery store and trading post are still in place.

The Cottonwood Trading Post buys, sells, and trades authentic Native American pottery, paintings, jewelry, dance goods and more.


Tribal Artery and tips its "thank you hat" to New Mexico Tourism for this good news. We remember the Cottonwood Trading Post from the old days. We always enjoyed our visits there. It's good to have it re-opened.