As awareness grows surrounding American Indian history, paying respects to Native America has become an important part of domestic travel. But while some do more harm than good by visiting lands without proper research and education, others open their minds by taking Native American tours that are local to an area during their trips. So if you're wanting to learn more about the indigenous culture of a place you might be visiting, check out one of these tours!
These tours are normally conducted by native people in the area, helping visitors explore in a conscious manner while learning more about the local culture. And as we become more respectfully aware of how our actions affect those whose heritages originally derived from these places, taking a tour with the cultural experts is the right choice to make. So come learn more about the indigenous history of the U.S. landscape in first-hand experiences with its native peoples and cultures.
8 U.S. Native American Tours to Learn More About Indigenous Culture
1. Tatanka Rez Tourz
Home to the Oglala Lakota tribe, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation tells tales of the indigenous people of South Dakota. Explore the history and culture of the Black Hills and Badlands National Park region with a personal tour that caters to all ages. The family-owned Tatanka Rez Tourz will start at the White River Visitor Center and take you through artful rock formations, historical monuments, and local traditions that honor the lives lost at the Wounded Knee Massacre.
2. Antelope Canyon Tours
There are several Antelope Canyon tours that offer different experiences in exploring the breath-taking Navajo nation. Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours provides more picturesque experiences that take you on an expedition through the magnificent slot canyons. Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours is owned by the renowned Begay Family, who offer tours through the eyes of a Navajo tour leader. And the Antelope Canyon Tours explore the Upper Antelope Canyon with experienced Navajo guides whose families share the area's heritage.
3. Experience Hopi Tours
Learn more about one of North America's oldest and most thriving Native American cultures, the Hopi, through one of these inviting guided tours. Their experienced guides take you through history and culture that are characteristic to Arizona's gorgeous mesas. Explore the Hopi Arts Trail to witness how these people have been one of the most uniquely preserved cultures in the U.S. and see vibrant art galleries holding work from the finest native artists in the area.
4. Simpson's Trailhandlers Tours
Owned and operated by Harold and Deborah Simpson, Monument Valley's Simpson's Trailhandler Tours take visitors throughout Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. All their experienced tour guides are born and raised Navajos who will take you on cultural treks through the traditions and heritage that derived within the Southwest's spectacular red rock formations. Experience what's known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" through jeep or horseback riding, making stops at petroglyphs and ancestral Pueblo ruins.
5. The Totem Heritage Center
In Alaska, the town of Ketchikan features one of the world's largest collection of totem poles. In Totem Bight Historical Park, these meticulously carved poles sit among the cedar and spruce trees as part of Tlingit and Haida culture. Visitors will see replicated carvings of the original poles that were deteriorating in those historic sites, telling stories of the native people who lived during those times. The cultural center divulges more information about the totem poles, including the history, different types, and different meanings. It's a great trip to plan if you only have a half-day to dedicate to learning more about the area's history.
6. Blackfeet Culture Camp
Experience the culture of Blackfeet Indian country by checking out Lodgepole Gallery in Montana near the Rocky Mountains and bordering Glacier National Park. Explore the homelands of the Blackfeet by taking a guided journey back in time visiting buffalo jump sites, tipi rings, powwows, and the Museum of the Plains Indian. You can also go horseback riding on same paths as Blackfeet warriors took or go fishing in the streams flowing from the national park. Listen to stories that have been passed down from generations and check out all the incredible cultural art in the Native American Art Gallery.
7. Taos Pueblo
Celebrating over 1,000 years of tradition in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo is a community of Puebloans who have inhabited the area since. The area is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S., holding the distinguished Pueblo homes that define the culture. Normally, their guided tours run every 20-30 minutes depending on the season and explain the tribal culture's history and people. Unfortunately, the tours are temporarily cancelled due to COVID. Check back on their website for more information on when they'll reopen.
8. Be Native Tours
These Oklahoma tours take you through the rich Native American lands in the state. The Cherokee Nation & Oklahoma's Favorite Son tour takes you through the life of legendary American cowboy Will Rogers and the Cherokee culture. On the Cherokee Female Seminary, you'll be guided through a living ancient village. You'll visit the Trail of Tears Exhibit, which follows the area in the 1830s, when the federal government forced the Cherokees from their ancestral homelands. You'll also explore the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, which is the oldest standing government building in the state.
Have you ever taken a Native American tour? Share your experience with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
Enjoy reading about the open road?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.