Passing by their new Native American arts outpost in downtown Sisters, you can almost hear the distant drums and tribal chants. Tucked way back in a serene corner of Barclay Square lies Southwest Treasures, an Indian jewelry and craftwork emporium brimming with a rich cache of cultural gems.
Inside, customers and guests are treated to a bright wealth of authentic turquoise and silver rings, belt and necklaces, traditional Hopi and Navajo kachina dolls, handcrafted beadwork, shelves of southwestern pottery, Southwestern style clocks and intricate sand paintings.
Owners Katie and Chuck Devore have lived in Central Oregon for 13 years and opened for business in March after bring Katie’s mother, Gleah, here to Sisters from Cottonwood, Arizona. There, her mother had operated an Indian jewelry shop for 35 years and after passing away three months following the relocation, all her merchandise was put in storage and remained there until this past fall.
“We decided to do the Western Christmas Show in Redmond last November and my daughter and I set up a booth and did very well,” said Katie. “Then we did the Centennial Park Village Christmas Market and the Redmond Bazaar.”
After their success at area events, the Devores were intent on searching for a permanent storefront location, partially due to the lack of traffic and poor access to parking at the bazaar.
“We’d looked in Bend and Sisters and settled on Sisters because it’s a neat place and the people are really nice. There’s a lot of tourists and visitors and many other artists and we just felt comfortable here.”
Making the commitment meant doing her research to discover the best way to capitalize on her retail endeavor.
“I wanted to make sure I really wanted to go forth with this and in January we went to the Oasis Trade and Gift Show in Phoenix to see what other Native American items were available and selling,” she explained. “I met a lot of interesting vendors there who were so supportive. I got good advice about how not to buy too much of any one item because then you limit your assortment. We want to keep a wide selection of hand-picked, quality artifacts and artworks here in a price range everyone can afford.”
Katie’s husband, Chuck, is half Choctaw and the Indian heritage and culture is something very near to his heart.
“We didn’t do this type of jewelry where I’m from in Oklahoma but this is sure pretty stuff,” he said. “We’re looking forward to being here and meeting more people and joining the Sisters business community. I think this is a good place and I’m excited to have a great summer. It should be quite busy when the rodeo gets here.”
Everything in Southwest Treasures is 100 percent authentic Indian jewelry made by Navajo, Zuni and Hopi craftsmen from New Mexico and Arizona. All the amazing leatherwork displayed on the walls is done by Curtis Bitsui, a well-known Navajo craftsman. His amazing leather bows and arrows, tomahawks, quivers and gun cases are one-of-a-kind and represent the type of unique artwork to be found amid the Devore’s intriguing inventory.
“We also have the big, ornate “squash blossom” turquoise and silver ceremonial necklaces that the chiefs and their women would wear to show the extreme wealth and power within the tribe,” said Katie. “We’re the biggest little hidden secret in town and we have new stuff coming in all the time from blankets, rugs, more pottery and decorated gourds.”
West Cascade Ave. Suite #5 in Barclay Square back between BJ’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Sisters Mercantile.