Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau
Opened April 2018
Presented in their own words, this ethnology exhibition reflects tribal histories, values, and cultures of ten tribes of the Colorado Plateau: Acoma, Dilzhe’e Apache, Diné (Navajo), Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Southern Paiute, Southern Ute, Yavapai, and Zuni.
Curators of the exhibition partnered with 42 members of the Colorado Plateau tribes to select the more than 350 items displayed. The tribal consultants also determined the exhibition’s themes and developed the educational content that put the objects and photographs into historical and cultural context.
The collaboration between MNA curators and the tribal representatives ensures that the gallery not only illuminates but respects the people and cultures it explores and the spiritual importance of the traditions they are sharing.
“For us, tribal knowledge is sacred, and much of it cannot be shared with everyone,” said Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, a Havasupai council member who helped create the exhibition. “Traditional knowledge is taught by our elders and given when one is ready. Parts can only be known by specially prepared individuals. Here, we are sharing knowledge that we are comfortable giving to the world.”
The materials in the exhibition are from the Zuni, Acoma, Southern Ute, Southern Paiute, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, Yavapai, Dilzhe’e Apache, and Diné (Navajo) communities. Items in the displays run the gamut from weavings, pottery and fine silverwork to toys, tools and even a skateboard.