Learn about Na­tive Amer­i­can cul­tures on your next trip

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY LYNN O’ROURKE HAYES Fam­i­lyTravel.com

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.

Con­tact: www.http://www.nps.gov/libi

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:

www.in­dige­nousbc.com

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:

www.TaosPue­blo.com

JOHNNY SUNDBY Rapid City (S.D.) Jour­nal file

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.

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