Althea Cajero

Santo Domingo and Acoma Pueblo


Althea Cajero is from the Pueblos of Santo Domingo and Acoma, in New Mexico. Her mother, Dorothy Tortalita, was a full-time silversmith, and her father, Tony Tortalita, was a lapidary jeweler and is now a tribal leader of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Her parents made their living creating art and selling their work under the Governor's Palace in Santa Fe and at art shows. Her appreciation for art came from growing up and being around it. She knew that one day art would be a part of her life, not really knowing whether it would be through collecting, selling, or creating it.

Althea grew up in Santo Domingo Pueblo and attended high school in Santa Fe, NM. After graduating from St. Catherine's High School she attended the University of New Mexico and was hired by the Indian Health Service and worked for them for almost 20 years.

In 2005, Althea and Joe Cajero, Jr., bronze and clay sculptor from Jemez Pueblo, were married. It was in being in his creative space that inspired her to think about her own creative capabilities.

From the Fall of 2004 to the Spring of 2006, she attended a jewelry class at the Poeh Arts Cultural Center in Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico. Fritz Casuse, her instructor and prominent Navajo jeweler, taught her to hand-fabricate and cast using silver and go