Photo: Collections of the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture


“Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies”

Yearlong Exhibition Opens on October 20, 2018 at The Center for New Mexico Archaeology

Audubon New Mexico is proud to partner with The Center for New Mexico Archaeology - New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to bring awareness of the importance of birds in our environment and culture. 

Birds are cherished among many cultures worldwide. The presence and well-being of birds reflects the health of the environment; they share every ecosystem with us, playing the role of hunter and prey, pollinators, scavengers, and dispersers of seeds. Feeding the spirit, they signify strength, courage and freedom. As our companions—birds inspire us to think beyond our own confinement and limitations. With some 10,000 species of birds in the world, they are among the best adapted animals on Earth, dating back to the time of the dinosaurs.

This yearlong exhibit, “Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies” discusses the importance of birds to Native American culture both in the past and present, including the importance of birds as a resource for tools, feathers and food. The study of birds in archaeology is also included in this exhibit. This exhibit helps celebrate The Year of the Bird, the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that was passed in 1918 to protect birds from wanton killing. With information from Audubon New Mexico, the exhibit provides facts and perspectives on the role of birds in our world.

Bird forms, whether figurines or depictions of birds, are found at all the modern pueblos in New Mexico. Turkey, macaw and other parrots, water birds, hummingbirds, owls, ravens, song birds are all represented, as are Thunderbirds and other birds with mystical powers. It is evident through the continuing inclusion of birds in Native American pottery and other art works that birds continue to occupy an important role in the psyche, religion and every day activities of the modern pueblos, as well as among other Native groups in the Southwest – the Navajo, Apache and Ute.

Look further through this exhibit to see what other bird forms are used. It is no doubt whether stylized or abstract, these beautiful forms of birds pay homage to one of the most important animals in the human experience.  

LOCATION:            The Center for New Mexico Archaeology located off the 599 Bypass in Santa Fe 7 Old Cochiti Road (off Caja del Rio Road, left just before the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society)

ACTIVITIES:           Hands on activities for all ages: Including artifact investigation, native plants, demonstrations of traditional crafts, lectures. FREE FOOD.

COST:                      FREE

Thereafter, the exhibit can be viewed in the lobby of the Center until October 2019, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except holidays).

Collections of the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

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