Best Places to Visit in Native America
Hearing Aboriginal legends around a campfire, riding a jeep in a mountain desert, watching the colorful swirls of dancers at a dance party – interacting with Aboriginal people provides an instinctive understanding of traditions and history that isn’t in the books.
The United States is an especially rich destination for exploring indigenous cultures. This often means going to the pristine countryside, away from crowds and fences, in search of the kind of open space only found in faded photographs or dreams.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Native America and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Native America
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Native America:
1. National Museum of the American Indian (DC)
The National Museum of American Indians is the Smithsonian Institution’s premier national repository of American Indian art and culture on the National Mall.
“Our world-class collection spans the cultures of North, Central and South America, with more than 800,000 objects in total,” said museum director Kevin Gover. “Our Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe was the first museum cafe in Washington to receive a Zagat rating and has a loyal following.”
The museum offers a full schedule of public programs, including concerts, festivals, workshops and theaters, as well as one-of-a-kind temporary exhibitions featuring key Indigenous artists such as Fritz Scholder, George Morrison, Brian Jungen and Allan Houser.
You may know that this is an older state, but Oklahoma’s state name is Hindi from the Choctaw words “with an arrow” and “fever” meaning “red man”. The entire state is rich in American Indian culture. It makes sense: Oklahoma has 39 federally recognized tribes and has the second-largest percentage of Native Americans in the country.
If you know that in 1838-1839 the Cherokees were forced to migrate along the Trail of Tears (now the National Historic Road) to what is now the Indian Territory reservation in southeast Oklahoma, you’ll appreciate the Cherokee Nation, the capital city of Tahlequah.
The Cherokee Heritage Center has a reconstructed former Cherokee village and a permanent Trail of Tears exhibit. You can tour the Tahlequah Original Historic Townsite District, where street signs are written in English and Cherokee languages. More Cherokee-related museums include the John Ross Museum, the John Hair Museum and Cultural Center, and the Cherokee Supreme Court Museum.
You can learn about the art, culture, and history of five civilized tribes in the Muskogee Museum. Located in the Osage Hills, 10 minutes from downtown Tulsa, the renowned Gilcrease Museum is home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of West American arts and crafts, as well as an unrivaled collection of Native American arts and crafts.
3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
It takes more than a few days—and many return trips—to experience Santa Fe’s rich Native American culture. American Indian vendors line the historic square selling authentic silverware and turquoise jewelry, as well as other indigenous crafts. The Shiprock Gallery on the Square, the Blue Rain Gallery in Lincoln, and the many galleries on Canyon Road are gateways to a life-changing indulgence in Indigenous art, from painting and sculpture to textiles, pottery and jewelry.
The city also has world-class museums: the Wheelsmith Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Indian Art and Culture, and the Museum of Contemporary Native Art. For a do-it-yourself approach, head to Santa Fe during the world-famous Indian Market in August, when parking is awful but the historic center is full of stalls dedicated to indigenous art and food. “The biggest and best venue for us Native American artists,” said sculptor Upton Greyshoes Ethelbah. “Tens of thousands of collectors showed up for the two-day exhibition.
“Visitors of the Santa Fe Indian Market can appreciate the most diverse collection of Native American art in the country, with more than 10 different items ranging from my custom stone and bronze sculpture to pottery, beadwork, jewellery, painting, Weaving and even filmmaking.” The Indian market is not only an opportunity to share culture with tourists unfamiliar with indigenous differences but also between different tribes.
“There are more than 562 different tribal groups in the United States with different languages, rituals, and customs,” he said. “Everyone benefits from experiencing the huge difference in artworks from these tribes and countries. Nearly every object presented to collectors by more than a thousand Indian artists is rooted in tribal traditions or semiotics, and artists are keen to connect with collectors. Share inspiration and the historical or spiritual significance of their work.”
During the fourth weekend of April, Native Americans flock to Albuquerque for national gatherings. Billed as the largest Native American cultural event in the world, it’s a tribal extravaganza with all its extremes and bold beading.
Where else can you find the most famous powwow in North America, as well as the coronation of Miss World India and the 700+ tribesmen who do their work?
In 2014, the event’s 31st anniversary, the event’s founder, Derek Mathews, said, “The National Gathering strives to be a positive cultural experience that inspires everyone. Native American arts and crafts, a variety of delicious Native American and Southwestern cuisines, and the best contemporary entertainment at the Indian Trade Market.
The grand entrance was special—thousands of Native American dancers entered the University of New Mexico stage at once, dressed in costumes to the beat of hundreds of drums. Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is located in the sanctuary of Santa Ana Pueblo, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The resort offers golf courses, swimming pools, spas, restaurants and the usual luxury amenities, but stands out for its Native American cultural experience.
Tribe members use pueblo bread-baking demonstrations, flute and tribal dance performances on select weekends, a cultural museum hosted by tribesmen, and the three Ye Yangs use a traditional bakery called huruna for hiking and horseback riding (horse or bike) in Rio. Grande, trails used by the people of Tamayame for centuries, and creation stories told under the stars by a Native American storyteller.
5. Shiprock, New Mexico
The Navajo Nation covers more than 17 million acres, covering the entire northeastern region of Arizona and spanning New Mexico and Utah. Easier to pronounce than the Navajo name, Tsé Bitʼaʼí, Shiprock is located in the northwest corner of New Mexico. Said to have brought the tribe here from the north, the “winged rock” or “winged rock” stands 1,583 feet above the plains, and each foot appears to be a sacred and legendary heavyweight in Navajo culture.
This approach is actually a religious experience. It’s a two and half hour ride from Ship lock to Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border. Monument Valley is one of the most famous movie destinations in the world, with miles of mesas, hills and rock towers carved by thousands of years of water and wind, and a tribal park for the Navajo Nation.
This 17-mile scenic drive includes Mitten Buttes, Merrick Buttes, and other iconic formations. A Navajo guide can take you through 92,000 acres of the park.
Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes with Indigenous history and landmarks across the state, from the rock formations of the Isle of Skye Mountains and Chilacawa National Monument to urban centers like Phoenix, home to nearly 45,000 First Nations.
Did not you hear it? Like at the Heard Museum? It’s just one of the oldest and best cultural attractions in the Phoenix area and a great place to learn about American Indian art and culture.
“The Hurd Museum offers a unique and memorable visit with 11 galleries showcasing the best of American Indian heritage and contemporary art,” said Ann Marshall, the museum’s director of curation and education. “There will be six to eight new exhibitions in a year, so a return visit will always bring something new. The museum hosts over 700 Indigenous artists at the Indian Fair and Market, held each March.
Just outside of downtown Phoenix, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park sit on a 1,500-year-old site that includes a partially excavated platform mound, ball field, and a trail that runs through the prehistoric Hohokam Archaeological Village, a replica of Prehistoric homes. In December, the Indian market has music and dance performances, artist performances, children’s crafts, and of course, toast.
Arizona is home to many reputable American Indian restaurants.
The Globe’s top three picks for American Indian food in Phoenix: The Fry Bread House, although “understated,” is “one of five restaurants in the country to win the 2012 James Beard American Classic Award, and it’s also the only Native American restaurant to win this award.” “, “Five Star Five Diamond” KAI and “health-focused” Desert Rain Cafe.
7. Denver, Colorado
Known for its collection of American Indian art, the Denver Museum of Art’s permanent collection and exhibits showcase everything from ancient ceramics to 19th-century Arapaho beaded clothing and contemporary glass. The museum celebrated its 25th anniversary in September 2014 with the Friendship Powwow and Celebration of American Indian Culture. There were Native American dancers, drum groups, performers, vendors and, we must say, toast.
Mile High City is also home to Denver’s March Powwow, the second largest indoor event after Albuquerque’s National Gathering, celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Denver Coliseum from March 20 to 22, 2015. Who cooks all the Indian tacos at Powwow in Denver in March? It could be Tocabe: an American Indian restaurant – you can always try their tacos at Tocabe’s Denver restaurant.
Partners Ben Jacobs and Matt Chandra call it “quick, casual,” a bit like the community-minded Chipotle for Native American food. Diced Bison American Indian Tacos are a fan favorite. Bison steak is another signature dish. “We’re trying to showcase American Indian cuisine in the 21st century,” Chandra said. “It’s a dish that speaks to tradition, but it also shows that it can evolve and have the ability to adapt and become a part of mainstream cuisine.”
8. Crow Fair, Montana
Under the great Montana sky, a blanket-wrapped parade car and 1,500 tents—this could only have been a crow’s fair. During the third week of August each year, the Crow Agency becomes the tent capital of the world, hosting the largest modern American Indian camp in the country and the largest annual Native American gathering. Nation of Apsaluk.
Daily parades, evening prayers, all India rodeos, Indian flag horse racing, and closing “Dance in Camp” – Raven Market is a week of incredible displays of Native American culture. Area attractions include the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
9. American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco)
Seeing American Indian life through the lens of an Aboriginal filmmaker is one of the best ways to learn about the modern Aboriginal experience. One of the best places is the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Empowering Native American media artists is the mission of the American Indian Film Institute, and AIFI’s annual film festival has been bringing local stories to a growing audience for nearly 40 years.
“There are other American Indian film festivals across the country,” said festival founder and president Michael Smith. “However, the AIFI Film Festival in San Francisco is the longest running and most content festival. There were over 85 films last year.”
The 39th Annual American Indian Film Festival will run from November 1 to November 9, 2014.
If you’re lucky, you might meet filmmaker Chris Ayer (Cheyenne, Arapaho), whose debut film Smoke Signal Always was an AIFI and Sundance Film Festival favourite, winning awards at both festivals in 1998.
Against the Bay Area backdrop of modern American Indian film themes and film festivals, it’s hard to imagine that the land south of the Golden Gate Bridge was once home to the Ohlone or Costanoan tribes and north of the bridge, especially in the area that is now Marin. County, to the Rice Walker tribe.
You can visit the American Indian Marlin Museum in Novato Mi Walker Park to see what the area looked like when American Indians lived centuries before high-tech modernization. It is located on the site of an authentic Miwok village, in a peaceful and unspoiled environment, away from the influence of Silicon Valley.
10. The Salish Sea (Pacific Northwest)
While it may now be associated with coffee and garbage culture, the Pacific Northwest is also home to plastic arts, totem poles, longhouses, and canoes. Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia are part of the Salish Sea. You can do all kinds of things in the area to feel the richness of the tribal past. On the northwest coast of Black Island is Tillicum Village, where you can enjoy Indian dance performances and enjoy a traditional salmon-baked dinner.
You can pay your respects at Seattle Chief’s Cemetery and learn about the longhouse legacy of Suquamish, Washington on the Port Madison Indian Reservation where great chiefs lived and died. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Puget Sound Salish tribe, particularly the Suquamish, in the beautifully designed new Suquamish Museum and Cultural Center.
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