The lands now called the United States and Canada are the ancestral homes of many Indigenous peoples. In southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia, these peoples include the Tlingit (KLING-kuht), Haida (HY-duh), Tsimshian (SIM-shee-un), and Kwakwaka’wakw (KWOK-wok-ya-wokw). For thousands of years, artists in these societies embellished homes, garments, and ritual objects in a distinctive style now known as Northwest Coast art. In the late 1700s, European settlers threatened to wipe out Indigenous cultures. But artists from these communities maintained their artistic traditions and continue breathing new life into their work today.
The land known as the United States and Canada are the ancestral homes of many Indigenous peoples. For thousands of years, artists in these societies decorated homes, clothes, and important objects in their own recognizable styles. Indigenous nations in southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia created a style now called Northwest Coast art. The arrival of European settlers in the late 1700s threatened to wipe out Indigenous culture. But artists from these communities preserved their traditions. Today, they breathe new life into their art.