Native American Art Facts

Updated February 21, 2017

Native American art covers a number of tribes that span from the American south-east to the First People tribes of Alaska. The art of Native Americans is both decorative and functional.


Native American art is a piece of artwork created by a member of a native tribe of either the North or South American continents. This includes Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the countries of South America.


Traditional Native American art is art that uses traditional methods of craftmanship, such as drum-making or pottery firing. Modern Native American artists can create traditional art.


Contemporary Native American art is art created by a modern Native American artist. The artist is not limited to traditional techniques or mediums. The themes of his work do not have to concern Native American life. The artist can be both traditional and contemporary.


Examples of Native American art include musical instruments such as drums and flutes. Native American clothing, pottery, baskets, jewellery and carvings are also examples of Native American art.


A Native American artist must be an active member of a state or federally recognised tribe, or the tribe must recognise the artist as Native American. Anyone who is not Native American who attempts to sell their art as such is subject to prison time and a fine in the United States.

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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.