Many Indigenous tribes have called the Northeast home throughout time. In fact, history suggests that 10 million people lived in what would become the United States when Europeans arrived in the 15th century. There are still 25 federally recognized Native American tribes in the region today. Visit these Native American sites, including museums and historical places, to learn more about the rich and varied Indigenous culture in the Northeast.
Museums and Exhibits
Institute for American Indian Studies
Formerly known as the American Indian Archaeological Institute, the Institute for American Indian Studies is located on the ancestral homelands of the Weantinock and Pootatuck people. It offers a variety of permanent, semi-permanent and temporary exhibits, along with workshops, lectures, book discussions and more.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center features 85,000 square feet of permanent, indoor exhibitions, including life-size dioramas, films and interactive computer programs. Permanent exhibits featuring Indigenous people include “Arrival of the People,” “Pequot Village” and “Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Today.”
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethology at Harvard University
The Peabody Museum at Harvard University is located on the tribal homelands of the Massachusett people, according to the museum’s website. North American artifacts make up nearly half of the museum’s collections. An exhibit specific to the Northeast includes artifacts from sites in the Boston and Cambridge, Mass., areas; Neville, N.H.; Orland, Maine, and more.
Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum is situated on Abenaki homeland. This museum sits on 12.5-acres of land, including the Medicine Woods Trail, the Betsy Janeway Arboretum and an activity area with spectacular views of the Mink Hills.
Winakung: Lenape Indian Village
Located on Winakung Island in Waterloo Lake, this reproduction of a Lenape Tribe village features huts, longhouses, artifacts, walking trails and more.
Howes Cave, N.Y.
The design of the museum itself is modeled after Iroquois longhouses, making this museum a true experience for visitors. Inside, permanent exhibits include contemporary, historical and archaeological collections.
American Museum of Natural History
New York, N.Y.
This museum is home to several permanent exhibits dedicated to Native Americans. These include the Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians, the Hall of Plains Indians and the Northwest Coast Hall, which opened in 1899 and was recently revitalized in partnership with Indigenous communities.
National Museum of the American Indian
New York, N.Y.
Part of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of the American Indian features roughly 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central and South America.
Ganondagan State Historic Site
Ganondagan State Historic Site is home to the Seneca Art & Culture Center. Here, visitors can view exhibits featuring artwork, traditional clothing and more. There’s also the Seneca bark longhouse – open during the warmer months – and walking trails.
The Tomaquag Museum was recognized with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2016. Today, the museum’s featured exhibits include “Wunnegen Manootash (Beautiful Baskets),” “Wampum: Telling our Story” and “The Pursuit of Happiness: An Indigenous View.”
“Still Here” Mural
Located on 32 Custom House St. in Providence, “Still Here” is a mural by artist Gaia in collaboration with the Tomaquag Museum, mentioned above. Commissioned by The Avenue Concept in 2018, the mural portrays Narragansett Lynsea Montanari holding a photograph of the late Princess Red Wing (Narragansett/Niantic, Pokanoket).
Sly Fox Den Too
A member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, chef Sherry Pocknett shares and pays tribute to her culture through a menu of foraged, hunted and fished dishes, often including the three sisters of Indigenous American agriculture, corn, beans and squash. Pocknett won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast in 2023, becoming the first Indigenous woman to earn the prestigious designation.
Owned and ran by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Passamaquoddy maple syrup is certified organic and sustainably harvested from the tribe’s land in Maine. Harvesting maple syrup is an ancestral tradition for the Passamaquoddy people and other tribes across the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of New York.
Which of these Native American sites would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments.