Native Indian Tradition Today

This is an interview with Charine Gonzales from the San Ildefonso Pueblo.

We recorded this interview in Santa Fe in 2013, in a really spontaneous way with the help

of my dear friend Michela Aveta.



Native Indian Tradition Today


Charine (18) is the daughter of Cavan Gonzales, who is a leader in the polychrome revival at

San Idelfonso Pueblo and comes from a long line of distinguished Native American potters

starting with his great-great grandmother, Maria Martinez.

Charine Gonzales is the great great great granddaughter of Maria Martinez (1887-1980), a

very important figure inside the recent history of the Native Americans.



Maria Martinez was a Native American artist who created

internationally known pottery.

Martinez and her husband Julian, and other family members

examined traditional Pueblo pottery styles and techniques to

create pieces which reflect the Pueblo people’s legacy of fine

artwork and crafts.




Martinez was from the San Ildefonso Pueblo, a community located 20 miles northwest

of Santa Fe, New Mexico. At an early age, she learned pottery skills from her aunt.

During this time, spanish tinware and Anglo enamelware had become readily

available in the Southwest, making the creation of traditional cooking and serving

pots less necessary.


Traditional pottery making techniques were being lost, but Martinez and her family

experimented with different techniques and helped preserve the cultural art.

The San Ildefonso Pueblo was established ca. 1300 C.E.  in Santa Fe, New Mexico,

United States. It’s population in 2010 was 524 people.


San Ildefonso Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos, and the pueblo people are

from the Tewa ethnic group of Native Americans, who speak the Tewa language.

The traditional name for San Ildefonso Pueblo is Po-woh-ge-oweenge, meaning “where the

water cuts through”.