The American Indian & First Peoples Art collection includes contemporary pottery, carvings, sculpture, and drawings by indigenous North American artists. Many peoples are represented, from the Hopi, the Tewa, and the Zuni of the Southwestern United States to the Tlingit, the Haida, and the Coast Salish of Canada’s Northwest Coast. This collection’s most exciting aspect is that all the objects are made by living artists, including Erik Fender (Tewa), Jason Garcia (Tewa), Carmel Lewis Haskaya (Acoma), Richard Krawchuk (Coast Salish), Harvey John (Nuu-chah-nulth), and Janice Morin (Coast Salish/Cree). These artists, and others represented in this collection, are recognized for their talents by their tribal communities as well as the international arts community.

While the works in the American Indian & First Peoples Collection reflect traditional motifs and techniques, they also display modern technologies and idiosyncratic designs, which demonstrate how the art of indigenous North American cultures is influenced by changing times and perspectives, just as mainstream contemporary art is. Because our teaching emphasizes inquiry and discovery, students will engage with these objects and with the ideas that they represent through dialogue and hands-on opportunities. Students will work together to learn about indigenous North American art by weaving together symbols, narratives, and history. Through this work they will begin to appreciate how these art forms continue to evolve and respond to changes across time and place.


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