Learn about Native American cultures on your next trip
Explore some of the world’s most enduring cultures set amid jawdropping scenery. Here are five places where your family will learn about Native American and First Nation ancient traditions and modern adaptations.
1. NAVAJO NATION, MONUMENT VALLEY, ARIZ.
It is not surprising that “Walk in Beauty” is a cornerstone of Navajo philosophy. Your family will be mesmerized by the landscape that is the sacred homeland of this Native American people. Hike or ride horseback through the sandstone masterpieces that tower above the high desert floor. Experience this iconic landscape from the Navajo owned hotel inside Monument Valley. Ask about guided tours.
Contact: www. MonumentValleyView.com.
2. LITTLE BIG HORN BATTLEFIELD, CROW AGENCY, MONT.
This scenic area memo- rializes one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their way of life. Here in 1876, 263 soldiers and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer, met death at the hands of several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. Young visitors can earn a Junior Ranger badge. Every August, the area becomes the Teepee Capital of the World when Crow Agency hosts Crow Fair, a celebration of native culture that includes pow wows, parades, dancing and an All Indian Rodeo. Guided tours, ending at Last Stand Hill, are also offered during the summer months.
3. OHIO STATE PARKS
Ancient Indians began occupying the land that is now the state of Ohio more than 10,000 years ago when the Ice Age was just ending. Evidence of these early residents remains today; more than 10,000 Indian Mounds – used for burials and ceremonies – have been found throughout the state. By the 1700s, an estimated 20,000 Native Americans lived throughout Ohio. Among the tribes represented were the Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, Mingo, Wyandot and Ottawa. State parks offer interpretive or education programs to assist families in learning more about the human history of these areas.
Contact: www.Xanterra.com; www.GreatOhioLodges.com
4. FIRST NATIONS, BRITISH COLUMBIA
There are many aboriginal cultural experiences to discover in British Columbia. Visit Vancouver, home of the Coast Salish peoples. Then travel north along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway, skirting the fjord-like shore of Howe Sound. Admire the glaciated peaks of the Coast Mountains. In Whistler, visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, showcasing the living cultures of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations through exhibits, art, food, language, interactive activities and engaging performances in a magnificent mountain setting. Contact:
5. TAOS PUEBLO, TAOS, N.M.
Continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years, this remarkable community remains a pristine example of Native American culture, tradition and architecture. UNESCO makes note of the Pueblo Indians’ ability to retain meaningful and long held traditions despite pressure from the outside world. Close to 1,900 Pueblo Indians still live, full or part time within the community, in homes made of adobe bricks, vigas and latillas. Take a walking tour of the area and uncover a rich history, view native arts and crafts and observe a way of life rarely glimpsed in our otherwise high-tech world. Contact:
Visitors study the mass grave marker atop Custer Hill near the visitor's center at The Battle of Little Big Horn National Monument in Crow Agency, Mont.