Letting the Outside In
From a young age, Maria Martinez served as an ambassador of her pueblo, and of Indian people in general. As early as 1904, she and her husband Julian demonstrated at the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition in St. Louis. In the following years, she participated in fairs in San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. Despite the prevailing cultural sentiment, in which Indian people were considered a "primitive race," she and her work were well received.
Maria's contact with the non-Native community was not limited to fairs and expositions. With the development of tourism, spurred by the opening of the transcontinental railroad, Indian pueblos became a tourist destination. Following their employment at the San Diego Panama California Exposition, Maria and Julian were hired by the Fred Harvey Company to lead tours of San Ildefonso Pueblo, allowing them to take advantage of the economic possibilities represented by the newly-mobile American tourist.