Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest

Our "Paths of Life" exhibit explores the origins, histories, and contemporary lifeways of 10 regional Native cultures in a fascinating mix of life-size dioramas, prehistoric artifacts, and historic objects.


Each Indian nation in the Southwest has its own unique culture and history — a "path of life" that its people follow. These paths have been shaped by numerous influences, from each cultures' origins, traditional beliefs, and the landscape to their relations with the U.S. government and interactions with other peoples in the region.

Working extensively with tribal representatives, the "Paths of Life" exhibit was designed to increase understanding of these Native cultures through three themes — Origins, History, and Life Today — as they relate to the Seri, Tarahumara, Yaqui, Tohono O'odham, Colorado River Yumans, Southern Paiute, Pai, Apache, Hopi, and Navajo peoples. 

Of special note, if the dioramas seem eerily real, that's because the people featured are in fact "real people" replicated through the art of body casts. Some dioramas are covered during Easter, out of respect for Native religious beliefs. 


              The Flower World by Daniel F. Leon, 1993