There are many ways to record history. Although native cultures of the Southwest did not historically have a written language, they shared events and stories from the past through oral traditions and the creation of visual documents like pottery, weavings, and ceremonial items and regalia. They also preserved and continue to preserve ancestral knowledge and cultural identity by practicing traditional lifeways and crafts.
At any given moment, a newly created work of art is “contemporary.” There have always been contemporary Native American artists whose work reflects and comments upon the times. The objects in this section provide a window into native histories of the Southwest and explore issues and ideas related to cultural identity.