The Center has a collection of nearly 1500 objects from a diverse range of Native cultures of North, Central, and South America dating from around 1200 BCE to the present. The collection includes about 180 works created before European contact in the 15th century, such as fine examples of ceramics from the Mimbres, Anasazi, and Hopewell cultures of the United States as well as the Casas Grandes, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Veracruz cultures of Mexico. Ceramics from the Maya, Veraguas, and Nicoya cultures represent Mesoamerican arts, while ceramic and metal arts from the Chancay, Nazca, and Chimú cultures of Peru represent a small sampling of examples from ancient South American cultures. The collection of Native arts created after 1500 CE consists primarily of works produced by artists from North American cultures and includes approximately 500 baskets from Native California cultures, with the remainder of the collection comprised of wood and stone carvings from the Pacific Northwest coast; Plains bead and leatherwork; and Pueblo ceramics and Navajo textiles from the Southwest.
The development of modern and contemporary Native American art in the 20th and 21st century is represented in the collection by about 40 works. These include argillite stone sculptures and woodcarvings by Native Pacific Northwest artists such as John Robson, Don Yeomans, Bill Henderson, and Stan Hunt III; textile arts by Northwest Coast artist Maxine Matilpi; drawings by Native Southwest artists such as Tonita Peña (Quah Ah) and Tomas Vigil (Pan Yo Pin); Pueblo pottery by Lucy Lewis, Maria and Julian Martinez, and Lula Tapia (Lu Ann Tafoya); and works on paper by Native artists in California such as Frank LaPena, Fritz Scholder, and Harry Fonseca.
Two galleries feature about 215 works by Native American artists and include a selection of California basketry; Haida argillite stone carvings; a fine Tlingit clan hat; a monumental installation of house posts and lintel by contemporary Kwakwaka’wakw artist Calvin Hunt; dance regalia by contemporary Kwakwaka’wakw artist Maxine Matilpi; and a selection of ceramic vessels and figures that illustrate the continuity and change in Native American arts from the past to the present.