Native Americans inhabited North America long before European settlers forcibly made the land their home. Despite the genocide committed against Native Americans, some aspects of their culture remain preserved and celebrated throughout the U.S. today. There are about 326 officially recognized Native American Reservations across the U.S. and many welcome visitors eager to learn more.
1. Navajo Nation, Arizona Navajo Nation is the biggest Native American Reservation in the U.S. with 27,000 square miles and over 300,000 people. Most of the reservation area lies in Arizona but it also stretches into Utah and New Mexico. Navajo Nation offers hikes, guided tours, museums and monuments to its visitors. The reservation also encompasses the Monument Valley Park on the border between Utah and New Mexico. In addition to beautiful views, many of the hikes in Monument Valley also lead right to ancient Anasazi ruins and rock art.
2. Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming
The Wind River Indian Reservation is 2.2 million acres of land dedicated to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people. Wind River also contains to be the burial site for Chief Washakie, a famous Shoshone leader. It is also the burial site for Sacagawea. Sacagawea was a Shoshone woman who served as a translator and guide for Lewis and Clark. Visitors can also attend a public powwow during the summer where they can see tribal dances and costumes.
3. Miccosukee Indian Reservation, Florida
The Miccosukee Indian Reservation includes locations in and around Miami. One of the most popular places to go to here is Alligator Alley. Here, a Miccosukee alligator wrestler does daily demonstrations and teaches visitors the proper way to mount a live alligator. There is also the Miccosukee Indian Museum, founded in 1983. The museum displays artifacts, traditional clothing and documentaries about Miccosukee life. Additionally, the reservation hosts an annual Tribal Festival that showcases tribal culture while raising money for the Miccosukee Educational Fund.
5. Oconaluftee Indian Village, North Carolina. Oconaluftee Indian Village dedicates itself to portraying Cherokee life in the 1760s. This village is known as a living history site where people make canoes, pottery, baskets and houses just as they did hundreds of years ago. The village offers arts and crafts sessions for kids as well as a Cherokee museum and fishing trips. There are also bonfires every Friday and Saturday night complete with dancing and storytelling. Oconaluftee Village is open to visitors from April to November with a Cherokee Powwow hosted in July.