Native American Ethnography

Ethnography at the New York State Museum is focused on the documentation and analysis of human culture, specifically Native American culture, and explores how Native peoples lived in the past and continue to build and preserve their culture in the present. 

News Articles

Mohican beaded purse with heart motif
Published January 26, 2021 | Ethnography

Please join the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation for a Facebook Live 1-hour presentation entitled, “Clan Mothers, Spinners, Attorneys and Stateswomen: Mohican Women in New Stockbridge,” on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time.


Silk Beaded Bag by Ken Williams Jr. (front)
Published November 4, 2020 | Ethnography

Inspired by the path-breaking beadwork artistry of Gahano (Caroline Parker Mt. Pleasant, Tonawanda Seneca), Ken Williams Jr.’s hand stitched silk and beaded bag pays tribute to the artistry of Seneca and Haudenosaunee beadwork in every detail. From the shape and construction of the bag, the tiny...

"Treaty Rights Footstool" by Karen Ann Hoffman
Published June 24, 2020 | Ethnography

NYSM Ethnology Collections featured artist, Karen Ann Hoffman, is a recipient of a 2020 NEA National Heritage Fellowship! (National Endowment for the Arts press release)

Karen Ann Hoffman, enrolled member of the Oneida Nation (Wisconsin) is an artist,...

E2014.24  "Strawberry Moon" by Tammy Tarbell-Boehning (Mohawk)   Raised glass beadwork on clay
Published May 13, 2020 | Ethnography

One sub-discipline within cultural anthropology is the medical anthropology, or the focus on how humans think of medicine, illness and practice health and well-being. Today's artwork from NYSM Ethnology collections recognizes Indigenous medicinal knowledge!

In 1536, French navigator...

View of the exhibit, "Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York" at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz
Published November 9, 2018 | Ethnography

 “Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York,” an exhibition at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, featuring selections from the New York State Museum’s collections of contemporary...

Dreaming of Wild Foods
Published April 6, 2017 | Ethnography

In FY 2016-2017, NYSM acquired eight stunning new artworks by artists previously not represented in the Contemporary Native American Art Collection (part of the Ethnology Collections). The selections, from artists with nascent and well-established careers include: Noel Chrisjohn Benson (Oneida...

“Ageswe’gaiyo” (oil on panel), with the women of the NYSM Anthropology Collections
Published March 8, 2017 | Ethnography

“Ageswe’gaiyo” (oil on panel), one of the 2016 purchases for the NYSM Contemporary Native American Art Collection arrived today at the museum, which is also International Women's Day 2017 (March 8). This exquisite painting features the artist, Luanne Redeye (Seneca), offering a glimpse of her...

Native American Baskets
Published September 14, 2016 | Ethnography

The Museum recently acquired a collection of 19th and 20th century Mahican and Mohawk baskets. The baskets range in size and decoration, from miniature baskets to large gathering baskets, fancy baskets with curlicues, and baskets with stamped and dyed splints in indigo and yellow colors.


brown baskets
Published June 26, 2015 | Ethnography

The Museum recently acquired a unique collection of 20th century Abenaki Native American materials. The collection was donated by Rodney Johnson of Rochester, NY. Rodney wanted to find a permanent home for the collection that had been handed down through four generations of his family - he chose...

Native American Heritage Month Logo

November is Native American Heritage Month!

Join the NYSM as we celebrate and honor the cultural heritage, diverse histories, and continuing contributions of Native People.