James Hermes, Proprietor        On the Pow Wow Highway and Rodeo Circuit since 1996         Based in Indio, California

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About Elk Rack Traders


   My name is James Hermes and I've been showing full time on the Pow Wow and Rodeo Circuit since 1996. I've been designing jewelry and painting since childhood. I made my first custom piece while a junior in high school in 1991; a gigantic 7 row bone and turquoise choker with a huge deer antler button as a pendant. At that time I had no idea what kind door I had just stepped through as I sold that piece.

   My family has been designing custom jewelry and art for several generations. We have a Cherokee heritage from Oklahoma. We have ranching history in northern New Mexico and the Imperial Valley of southern California until the early 1980's. I've grown up hearing family stories of Cherokee relations, shootouts with the Dalton gang in the 1880's, and Granddad's days on the rodeo circuit. My family has also been regularly attending local tribal gatherings for as long as anyone can remember. Please note that neither myself or any immediate family members are enrolled in any federally recognized tribes, my great great granddad refused to live on the reservation when the Dawes/Guenon Rolls were taken 100+ years ago. A quote that myself, my brothers and cousins like to give when describing ourselves is a line from the song Cherokee Fiddle, "All the Indians are dressing up like cowboys, and all the cowboys are putting leather and turquoise on."

   The first Pow Wow where I set up to sell was the very first Indio Pow Wow at the Cabazon Indian Reservation in 1993. The first Rodeo that I ever sold at was the very last Palm Springs Rodeo that same year. I formally started Elk Rack Traders in 1996 at the urging of a well known Navajo silversmith and several rodeo cowboy friends.

   These days Elk Rack Traders has evolved into a family run business that I own. Hence, I like to use the term "we". Western lore and Native influence has made our artwork true one-of-a-kind creations. Our signature style is what has cut us outa the herd in western art. A combined family history of Native ancestry and cowboy culture has brought together a style that's all our own.