Native North American art, c. 1500 – today

“Native American art” generally refers to peoples in what is today the United States and Canada.

c. 1500 - present

Beginner's guide

We can't tell the stories of art history without the continuous presence of Native American artists.

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

Pueblo architecture and its relationship to place
Pueblo architecture and its relationship to place

Pueblo architecture reveals a close connection to the surrounding landscape and to Pueblo culture.  

The bandolier bag
The bandolier bag

From quills to beads: the bandolier bag

Nellie Two Bear Gates, Suitcase
Nellie Two Bear Gates, Suitcase

This one-of-a-kind suitcase tells the surprising story of an artist, a wedding, and a people.

Henry Oscar One Bull, <em>Custer’s War</em>
Henry Oscar One Bull, Custer’s War

What most American students learn about as Custer's Last Stand was the last great victory for the Lakota people.

Global trade and an 18th-century Anishinaabe outfit
Global trade and an 18th-century Anishinaabe outfit

This outfit was likely made for a British lieutenant and gifted to him in a ritual exchange to show mutual respect.

Nampeyo (Hopi-Tewa), polychrome jar
Nampeyo (Hopi-Tewa), polychrome jar

Nampeyo found inspiration from the old to create a pottery style that was entirely new and highly sought after.

Bear Claw Necklace (Pawnee)
Bear Claw Necklace (Pawnee)

Six bears were required to create this necklace, meant imbue the Pawnee chief with protection and power.

Julian Martinez, <em>Buffalo Dancers</em>
Julian Martinez, Buffalo Dancers

Martinez’s distinctive style developed from studying Southwestern pottery and Modernist abstraction.

Juana Basilia Sitmelelene, Presentation Basket (Chumash)
Juana Basilia Sitmelelene, Presentation Basket (Chumash)

The artist used Spanish coins as models for the coats of arms woven into this basket in California, then New Spain.

North Wind Mask
North Wind Mask

The Yup’ik peoples, in one of the world’s coldest climates, made these ceremonial masks during the long winters.

Terms and Issues in Native American Art
Terms and Issues in Native American Art

Too many assumptions persist about Native American arts and cultures—start here to disentangle fact from fiction.

About geography and chronological periods in Native American art
About geography and chronological periods in Native American art

“Native American” is a broad term encompassing many diverse groups—learn how we organize this section.

Selected Contributors