During Native American Heritage Month, learn about the ancient traditions, modern practices and enduring legacies of Native American and First Nation people and their cultures. Here are five places to consider:
1 National Museum of the American Indian: With locations in New York City and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., this museum houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of American Indian art, photographic documentation and cultural artifacts. In collaboration with tribes and native communities, the architecture and landscape were designed to evoke the spirit of the people celebrated within the exhibits.
Young visitors can explore and learn through hands-on displays, special events, film screenings and a specially crafted guide created to help families make the most of their visit.
2 Little Big Horn Battlefield; Crow Agency, Mont.: This scenic area memorializes 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 Armstrong 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 parades, dancing and an All Indian Rodeo.
3 Ohio state parks: Native people began occupying the land that is now the state of Ohio more than 10,000 years ago. By the 1700s, an estimated 20,000 Native Americans lived throughout Ohio. Evidence remains today, as more than 10,000 Indian Mounds, used for burials and ceremonies, have been found throughout the state. State parks offer interpretive or education programs to assist families in learning more about the human history of these areas.
Info: 800-282-7275 or ohiostateparklodges.com
4 First Nations, British Columbia: There are many aboriginal cultural experiences to enjoy in British Columbia. Visit the Ksan Historical Village & Museum to learn about the importance of feasting or holding a “potlatch” for the native people of the Skeena River area in northern British Columbia. These gatherings were the primary way of celebrating birth, death, marriage or other life events. Admire the glaciated peaks of the Coastal Mountains while en route to Whistler. There, visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, showcasing the living cultures of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations. Discover the regional history through exhibits, art, food, language, interactive activities and engaging performances in a magnificent mountain setting.
Info: 877-266-2822 or aboriginalbc.com
5 Navajo Nation, Monument Valley, Ariz.: It is not surprising that “Walk in beauty” is a cornerstone of Navajo philosophy. Your entire family will be mesmerized by the spellbinding landscape that is the sacred homeland of the Navajo Nation. Stop for photos along the scenic 17-mile drive or take a guided hike or horseback ride through the sandstone masterpieces that tower above the high desert floor. Watch the sun rise over this iconic landscape from the only hotel located inside Monument Valley.