Indigenous peoples of the Canadian arctic have produced objects that could be classified as art since the time of the Dorset culture.
From the 12th century onward, the Iroquois and nearby coastal tribes fashioned wampum from shells and string; these were mnemonic devices, currency, and records of treaties.
Iroquois people carve False Face masks for healing rituals, but the traditional representatives of the tribes, the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee, are clear that these masks are not for sale or public display.
In addition to woodwork, two dimensional painting and silver, gold and copper engraved jewelry became important after contact with Europeans.
The Eastern Woodlands, or simply woodlands, cultures inhabited the regions of North America east of the Mississippi River at least since 2500 BCE.
The art of the Haida, Tlingit, Heiltsuk, Tsimshian and other smaller tribes living in the coastal areas of Washington State, Oregon, and British Columbia, is characterized by an extremely complex stylistic vocabulary expressed mainly in the medium of woodcarving.
Famous examples include totem poles, transformation masks, and canoes.Vessels were made from soapstone which came from the Appalachian foothills of Alabama and Georgia. is derived from examination of the elaborate artworks left behind by its participants, including pottery, shell gorgets and cups, stone statuary, repoussé copper plates such as the Wulfing cache, Rogan plates, and Long-nosed god maskettes.After adopting maize agriculture the Mississippian culture became fully agrarian, as opposed to the hunting and gathering supplemented by part-time agriculture practiced by preceding woodland cultures. By the time of European contact the Mississippian societies were already experiencing severe social stress, and with the political upheavals and diseases introduced by Europeans many of the societies collapsed and ceased to practice a Mississippian lifestyle, with notable exceptions being the Plaquemine culture Natchez and related Taensa peoples.Shellfish was a mainstay of their diet, and engraved shells have been found in their burial mounds.The Middle Woodland period was dominated by cultures of the Hopewell tradition (200–500).The Adena culture are another well-known example of an early Woodland culture.