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Now On View

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Art and Life Along the Northwest Coast

Currently Closed

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

Over their long habitation of the Pacific Northwest, First Peoples have shaped their lifeways around the resources of the water, forests, valleys, and mountains. In tandem, they have developed rich oral traditions and ceremonies that link inextricably to this region.

With this installation of SAM’s collection of Northwest Coast art, visitors will encounter the creative expressions of generations of artists who created forms for daily life, for potlatch ceremonies, and for spiritual balance. The presence of contemporary arts, shown alongside historical forms, highlight the vitality of traditions that are being re-envisioned for present times.

For images and a location map of public artworks in King County by Coast Salish artists, please visit, Visible on Ancestral Lands, a living archive compiled by Dr. Crisca Bierwert, Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington.

For more Coast Salish works in SAM's collection, click here.

Image: yiq´us (coiled basket), 1900–30, Susan Wawatkin Bedal, Sauk, 1865–1947, cedar root, horsetail root, cedar bark, cherry bark, 11 1/2 x 15 x 13 in., Gift of Jean Bedal Fish and Edith Bedal, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2005.99.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.