Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

Always a fighter for native ways, Geronima withstood several philosophical shifts at the BIA. But shortly after SFIS closed in 1962, and was replaced by the Institute of American Indian Art, she took a position as an adult educator at her home pueblo, San Juan. Starting with five students, she soon had more than 60, and in 1968 founded the Oke Owengee Crafts Co-Op to market their works. The first such Native American co-op ever started, it was an immediate success.

Feeling that a cycle of her life was complete, Geronima took early retirement in 1973 in order to pursue her own art, which she has done with great distinction. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the Eight Northern Pueblos, and the Smithsonian Institution have all given her lifetime achievement awards.

Story by Richard McCord
Photo ©2004 by Steve Northrup