James was born and raised on Santa Clara Pueblo, learning and practicing the language and traditions of the Santa Clara people from his mother, Virginia Ebelacker, and grandmother Margaret Tafoya. His father, Robert Ebelacker, an Army Corps of Engineers Veteran, likewise imparted his youngest son with the values of duty and honor.
After attending college at Colorado State University, and having already established himself as a gifted Pueblo potter, James enlisted in the United States Air Force, and subsequently served multiple tours of duty as a paramedic all over the world. Throughout his service with both the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard, James carried his family’s teachings with him, continuing to create masterpieces in clay, traveling back to New Mexico several times yearly, and passing down that knowledge to his daughters.
After 31 years, Chief Master Sergeant Ebelacker retired and made the welcome journey back home to the Pueblo. Currently, he lives and creates at his studios in Albuquerque and Santa Clara.
James has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his pottery, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwest Association of Indian Arts in 2012, Traditional Pueblo Pottery Award, Best of Division/Pottery, and numerous 1st and 2nd place awards. His work can be found in the collections the Eiteljorg Museum in Indiana, and the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, among others.