American Indian Collections
The California Indian collections contain everyday and ceremonial objects, including thousands of baskets from hundreds of Native cultural groups across the state. Charles Wilcomb, the founding director of the History Department, began the collection in the early 20th century with a particular focus on the tribes of the Central Valley and Northwest and Northeast of the state.
The California Indian collections include amazing feathered baskets from the Pomo and Wintu, extremely fine basket hats from the Hupa and Karok, and magnificent ornaments made from shell, beads, seeds, and feathers used in Native dance. Collections also include Southwestern Indian pottery, weaving, and silver jewelry; and Pacific Northwest carvings, boxes and clothing. Some artifacts are the only examples of their kind remaining in the world.
The California Ethnographic Collection at OMCA is subject to the rules of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The Museum is advised on repatriation matters by its permanent Native Council representing the main tribal regions of the state.