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Explore the history, objects, meanings and techniques behind the art of the Coast Salish people native to the Pacific Northwest at http://www.burkemuseum.org/coastsalishart

Coast Salish Art

Northwest Coast Native art is very well known globally, primarily for the monumental totem poles and spectacular masked performances of the First Peoples of the northwestern British Columbia and Alaska. The Native art of the southern Northwest Coast has been largely under represented and misunderstood. These pages provide an introduction to the art of the First Peoples of western Washington and southwestern British Columbia who speak the Coast Salish languages. Explore the history of art in this region, what makes Coast Salish art distinctive among the many regional Northwest Coast styles, and learn about the vitality of contemporary Coast Salish art.

The Burke Museum’s Ethnology department cares for many historical Coast Salish objects, as well as a growing contemporary collection. The collection is a resource for artists, researchers, historians, educators, collectors and enthusiasts, and the public. A selection from the Burke collection is shown here, along with many objects from other worldwide museum collections.

Explore the Art | Interactive Map

Hover over or click on the blue icons to see images and details of Coast Salish objects and the people who made them. 

Adapted from Salishan Languages Map in Barbara Brotherton (ed), S'abadeb: The Gifts, Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum and University of Washington Press; 2008: xix.

People & Languages

Explore the geographic region of the Coast Salish people, their history, language, and tribal names.

Historical Art

Ancient, archaeological, and 19th century Coast Salish art works.

Style & Meaning

The design of Coast Salish carving, its iconography (meaning), and how it relates to other regional styles.

Tools & Technologies

The tools and technologies to make basketry, woven robes, canoes and other carvings.

Contemporary Art

Innovative Coast Salish art being produced in the tradition of the artists’ ancestors.


Additional resources about Coast Salish art and cultures.

This project is supported in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bill Holm Center.

This project was also supported, in part, by an award from 4Culture.