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The Native American Arts Collection

To tell the story of the Native American cultures of the southwest through their arts is a daunting task. Yet, in the Millicent Rogers Museum collection is a representative body of work from the prehistoric to the present that broadly encompasses the rich and diverse heritages of Native American cultures in the region.

The items in the museum's collection include materials from the various tribal entities in New Mexico including the Navajos, Zunis, Pueblos, and Apaches. Because Northern New Mexico, and particularly Taos, were centers of trade from throughout the west, the museum also has a remarkable collection of Plains Indian material, Mexican Indian art, and representative pieces from other Western Native American cultures.

The examples of Native American textiles, pottery, baskets, Katsinas and jewelry on display illustrate the use and the life of the objects.

Selected Pieces

Cow Katsina--19th century



The outside world knew fairly little about what katsinas were until the publication by Frank Waters of Taos about the lore, language and traditions of the Hopi people. Still later, the collection of katsinas assembled by the late Arizona Senator and sometime Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater brought these images into popular culture. This example, one of the oldest in the museum's collection, is fully articulated with each element hand carved and then painted by the maker.  




Navajo Eye-dazzler Weaving--late 19th or early 20th centuries













For centuries, there has been a widespread cross-pollination among the Native American, Hispanic and Anglo artists and traders in the region. There is perhaps no better example of these cultural crossovers than this Navajo weaving. Fifty years before this was made, the Navajos were producing simple but elegant horizontally banded weavings. Influences from Hispanic weavers, particularly during the Navajos enforced exile at Bosque Redondo, led to the introduction of these geometric patterns. Finally, the importation into the southwestern of aniline dyed Germantown milled yarns by traders meant that Navajo weavers were able to produce brighter and brighter weavings. The end result was this piece that while Navajo produced, includes elements from Hispanic and Anglo influences as well.


 Jicarilla Apache Basket--early 20th century











This basket was donated to the museum by the family of famed Pueblo pottery Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso pueblo. The family story, which is supported by numerous images also in the museum collection, is that the basket was traded by an Apache to Maria for one of her famed pots. The idea of trading arts was, and still is, an important part of Native American life in the region.






Native American Arts

The unique Native American Collection at the Millicent Rogers Museum gives a comprehensive overview to the Native American cultures of the Southwest. The examples of Native American textiles, pottery, baskets, Katsinas and jewelry on display illustrate the use and the life of the objects. The objects in the Native American collection have a utilitarian use, a sacred life and an artistic expression. The exhibitions illustrate the aesthetic beauty of the objects and respect the objects as ceremonial pieces, making them more than simply utilitarian goods.