Explore Phoenix’s Vibrant Native American History
More than 10 percent of America’s Native American population lived in Arizona at one point, so it’s only natural that Phoenix has one of the most celebrated American Indian cultural centers in the nation. The Heard Museum of American Indian Arts and Cultures was founded by pioneer Phoenix settlers Dwight B. and Maie Bartless in 1929 and is dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of the Native arts and cultures, so head to one of Phoenix’s first local attractions to learn why it’s about time the Washington Redskin’s were finally forced to abandon their name. These days the museum’s activities revolve around collecting, preserving and presenting art ranging all the way back to ancestral artifacts to more contemporary paintings and jewelry. They show American Indian paintings, drawings, prints, photography and sculpture in the museum and its many outdoor galleries and performance spaces. Throughout the summer the very enticing special exhibits include an interactive Lego exhibit that USA Today called one of the 10 must-see exhibits this summer, along with an exhibit that explores food like chilli, chocolate, avocadoes and more. Rarely has a museum sounded so satisfying. Of course, Heard also uses its performance spaces for special events like lectures, theatrical presentations and films throughout the summer.