Seven years ago, Oklahoma Historical Society state archaeologist Marshall Gettys organized the first Central Oklahoma Native American Art Sale.
Even after his death, Marshall’s wife, Sally Gettys, has continued the sale every year in his honor.
“He loved baskets especially, and he loved the material, he loved the history, so I try to honor him by carrying that on,” Sally said.
This year, the art sale included about 15 vendors and took place Friday and Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds.
The sale contained collections of Navajo rugs, pieces of silverwork, Choctaw baskets, Kiowa paintings, Guna molas, pottery, dance shawls, books and beaded jewelry.
Sally said she hopes the sale can help counteract the diminishing number of Native American art galleries, auctions and outlets in Oklahoma.
“This started off small, but it’s starting to gain some momentum,” Sally said. “Maybe we’ll fill this whole building up [next year]. That would be nice.”
After retiring from a career working for the Cherokee Tribes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, vendor and Cherokee Allan Harder continues to preserve Native American and Cherokee culture through art collecting.
“We want people to always want to buy things, because we want people to continue to make them,” Allan’s wife and collecting partner, Cheryl Harder, said. “We can’t do too much about making sure that someone will always speak Cherokee or someone will always speak Creek, but we can do our part to see that someone is working and continuing their culture.”
Shirley Martin, the owner of Henryetta, Oklahoma’s S and L Gallery, said every jewelry item they sell was hand made by herself or one of the gallery’s artists.
“When you come to my table, and you look at something, and you like it, we want you to be able to put that on and wear it down the street,” Martin said. “When someone says, ‘Where’d you get that?,’ you…