Bidtah N. Becker - Chair
Bidtah Becker is an attorney with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice Water Rights Unit. She is married to Paul Spruhan and they have two beautiful children, Bahe and Tazbah.
Roger Fragua - Vice Chair
Roger Fragua is currently the President of Cota Holdings, LLC, whose primary mission is to support Tribal communities and economic development in the energy and telecommunication sectors. Roger has also worked with the Western Governors' Association and the National Tribal Environment Council on State and Tribal relations as it relates to environmental issues. Roger has dedicated his professional career to the advancement and development of American Indian communities and has served as the Deputy Director of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, based in Denver, Colorado, and the manager for Enron Corporation (Houston). Ultimately, Roger's commitment to Indian Country can be attributed to the position he held as his own Pueblo's Tribal Administrator. Roger states, "I hope to represent a breath of fresh air and challenge the status-quo and stretch the board, as a body, to reach further into the future and recognize that Indian arts and artisans take many different shapes than what the "conventional" understandings are. Roger's wide-ranging business experience and contacts throughout Indian Country will surely benefit SWAIA.
Elizabeth Pettus - Treasurer
Elizabeth Pettus was born in Stamford, Connecticut and graduated from Pomona College in Claremont California with a degree in English Literature. Elizabeth later attained a position in the world of investment banking, which was not a good "fit," but extremely educational. Elizabeth eventually married Robert Pettus, owner of Things Finer, in 1988 and has worked there ever since. Elizabeth is currently the president of the Santa Fe Downtown Merchants' Association, and has been active in the area of authenticity in Native arts (with an emphasis on jewelry), and the correct descriptions, definitions of the work, the materials, the origin and the pricing. Elizabeth states, "The partnership of the City of Santa Fe, and Indian Market (through SWAIA) are testament to the value of the mutual respect and cooperation between our residents, businesses, and visitors of all cultures. The enrichment; culturally, financially, artistically, and personally, benefits all of us, and is truly symbiotic. Historically, I think we are an example of the tangible benefits of respect for the Arts, and for both traditional and contemporary expression, and the place each has in the continuing development of humanity." As a business owner and resident of Santa Fe, Elizabeth understands the complexion of the Santa Fe community, which will greatly contribute to SWAIA and the board.
Traci Rabbit - Secretary
(Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma)
Traci Rabbit, daughter to Cherokee National Treasure & Internationally known artist Bill Rabbit and mother Karen Rabbit, was raised in Northeast Oklahoma - the heart of the Cherokee Nation. She continues her late father's legacy as a full time artist of over 21 years.
Her work captures a spirit in the Native American woman that does indeed embody the best in female strength. From the proud lift of her chin to the strands of hair caught by the wind, she appears to weather all storms. Her paintings represent the way it feels to be female; to fly in the face of all that comes, with fierce dignity, energy and strength, but they also capture women's ability to be gentle, yielding, kind and passionate.
She attended Northeastern State University, which originally was the Cherokee Female Seminary, receiving her BA in Business Administration in 1993, the first in her family to attend college and graduate. Her degree has been invaluable to their business, which consists of a full gift line. The Rabbit family produces the line from the conception of the original art all the way down to the production and packaging, so everything is Native American made. This is something the family takes great pride in when attending major retail and wholesale markets.
She is blessed to be able to work on her art while sharing time with family. Keeping one foot steeped in tradition and the other exploring the possibilities of applying modern technology to her art and business. After the passing of her father in 2012, she continues to live in the same area her family has been since the removal of the Cherokee people to Oklahoma. She says, "Without God and the support of my family none of this would be possible.
(Santa Clara Pueblo)
Susan Folwell was raised in the Santa Clara Pueblo. Coming from a family of Pueblo potters, Susan has continued her family's legacy. Susan has won multiple blue ribbons at Santa Fe Indian Market with her creative and unique pottery. In her work there is an intriguing coexistence of traditional values and contemporary experiences and observations. She studied design and fine arts photography at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. After college she worked as a professional photographer, before returning to New Mexico and becoming a professional potter. In an interview with Southwest Art Susan says, "The intriguing secret about clay and the heart is that they are always in control. Time and space become irrelevant. Everything I have ever learned, experienced, held, or let go of becomes instinct. Every lover, friend, enemy, ancestor, or emotion culminates for a moment in time to be laid out for all the world to see--coil by coil, breath by breath. I bend the coils and shape the pot, and I know the clay is doing the same to me."
Elizabeth M. Kirk
Elizabeth Kirk was raised in Isleta Pueblo where she still resides with her children, Dakota and Hunter Kuticka. She is daughter to Michael Kirk and niece to the late Andy Lee Kirk, both award winning jewelers from Isleta Pueblo. Her introduction to jewelry making started at age 8 when she picked up a jeweler's saw and began to mimic what she observed. At age 17, she took over the business aspect of her father's company and has never looked back, securing multiple accounts in various countries as well as in the States. With one eye on the future, she looks to incorporate modern technologies and further expand the family's market to reach a new audience.
Pat Pruitt resides on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation in the village of Paguate. He started making jewelry 20 years ago when he studied under a local silversmith, Greg Lewis. Pat worked with traditional materials (silver, copper) and learned traditional repose techniques, which gave him a firm foundation in jewelry fabrication and general craftsmanship. Several years later, Pat learned a different view on silverwork and aesthetics of jewelry design from Charlie Bird, an esteemed jeweler from Paguate. After acquiring these skills, in addition to those he learned during is studies as a Mechanical Engineer at Southern Methodist University, Pat opened his current business, Custom Steel. Pat is a talented artist who combines modern technology and software with traditional influence and design - his perspective and understandings as an artist will significantly benefit the board.
L. Stephine Poston
Stephine Poston is the President and CEO of Poston & Associates, LLC, headquartered on Sandia Pueblo Indian Reservation, New Mexico. Stephine has a Master of Arts in organizational management and over fifteen years experience in public and community relations at the tribal, federal, state and local levels. She has worked extensively on legislative issues at the tribal, federal, state and local levels ranging from preparing and delivering testimony to lobbying. In addition, Stephine has facilitated community and strategic sessions and led numerous public relations campaigns in areas such as renewable energy, benefits of Indian gaming and the protection of sacred sites. Prior to starting her own company, Stephine worked for her tribe, Sandia Pueblo for eleven years in various capacities. She was the director of health, safety and education, creating some of the most innovative programs in Indian Country. She also was the Pueblo's first Public Affairs Director shaping the image of the tribe in one of its most significant growth periods.
Dominique Toya is the fifth generation of potters in her family from Jemez Pueblo. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her pottery including Best of Classification at the Santa Fe Indian Market. She has been volunteering for SWAIA and donates her creations to the SWAIA Gala Live Auction for many years. Dominique believes in the continuation of excellence in Native American arts and the legacy and continuation of SWAIA.
Thomas A. Teegarden
Mr. Teegarden has over three decades business management experience in the public and private sectors with an emphasis on leadership for tribally-owned enterprises. He is presently the Chief Executive Officer of the Diné Development Corporation, an Arizona holding company for a portfolio of Navajo-owned certified businesses operating in the construction and information technology spaces. He brings to the SWAIA Board hands-on experience in contracting, business and community planning and development, fundraising, and budget, operations and volunteer management. His interests range from competitive cycling to traditional Native music, and he is a member of multiple Native drum groups. A previous Board member of several corporations, he holds an MBA from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth.