The Contemporary Native American Art Collection honors a living legacy of master craftsmanship and vibrant innovation in the artistic expressions of New York State's First Nations. Building on an initiative begun in 1986 and now numbering more than 130 objects, the collection offers insight into the endurance and evolution of tradition in tribal communities and a profound determination to survive and express as sovereign nations. Included in the collection are examples of beadwork, basketry, sculpture, silverwork, clothing, carving, painting, and pottery. The collection reflects the broad range of artwork from Native artists from functional to unique and decorative, and from traditional to modern in style and technique.
These objects speak of Native experience in the first person, forging a respectful partnership between the State Museum and those whose spiritual, economic, and material presence long predates the founding of New York State.