Native People of North America

The art and cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America are represented in this collection. It features ancient petrogylphs, intricate baskets and bead work and a vast array of artifacts from Pacific Northwest and North American tribes.

Unknown Western Alaskan Native artists, Lidded baskets, c. 1970s, beachgrass, left to right: 107⁄8″ tall x 7.” diameter, 8″ tall x 7.” diameter, 6″ tall x 75⁄8″ diameter and 20″ tall x 16.” diameter; Gift of John and Jan Nelson, Collection of Maryhill Museum of Art.

A recent donation to Maryhill by Jan Wyers and Teunis J. Wyers, Jr. is a collection originally amassed by their grandfather, John G. Wyers (1870–1960) of White Salmon, Washington, who managed the Columbia Fruit Union, a hardware and general merchandise co-op serving Mid-Columbia growers.

Among the new objects on view are Columbia River baskets (berry baskets, sally bags and cornhusk bags) and beaded bags. The collection is especially unique because many of the baskets’ makers are known. Most of them were created by members of the Hunt, Cayuse and Thomas families from the Husum, Washington area. A selection of Arctic material, donated by John and Jan Nelson, including masks and miniature items also went on view in the Native American Gallery in 2016.

In 2017 the museum’s Apache, Navajo and Pueblo cases were reinstalled to feature newly acquired textiles, beadwork and pottery.

Native American Stone figural pipes 19th century, C.E. Photography: Mary Harrsch