Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 32

Such attractions range from relatively
modest to world class. For example, at
Neah Bay on the northwestern tip of
Washington's Olympic Peninsula, the
Makah tribe has built a Culture and
Research Center along with beachfront
cabins and campgrounds. It's a fun stop
for any motorcoach tour.
At the other extreme, there's the vast
world-class Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center near Foxwoods,
the luxurious, Vegas-style resort in Connecticut. The Pequot facility, billed as the
world's largest Native American museum,
occupies a 308,000-square-foot complex.
Its high-tech interactive displays and
audio-visuals complement extraordinary
exhibits. Numerous temporary exhibits,
special events and educational programs,
a replica 16th-century Pequot village, and
a 185-foot observation tower will leave any
group dizzy with options.
While gaming has its supporters and
some detractors, its proceeds have enabled
many tribes to honor their heritage by
sharing their history and values.
For example, gaming enabled the Southern Ute people in southwestern Colorado
to build a major facility, the Southern Ute
Cultural Center & Museum in Ignacio.
Here visitors learn about the tribe's history
in a striking 52,000-square-foot architectural gem that was named True West
magazine's 2012 Museum of the Year.
There are many jewels among Native
American tourist offerings. Read on for
Destinations' roundup of some of the best.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma offers tour groups a particularly rich selection of Native American
museums. The Cherokee Heritage Center
in Tahlequah near the Arkansas border
tells the tale of the Cherokee people and
their time in Oklahoma following their
forced relocation to the West on the infamous "Trail of Tears," which historians
and many others consider one of the most
shameful events in American history. On
44 wooded acres here, your clients can
tour the Diligwa 1710 Cherokee Village
that shows Cherokee life as it was before
settlers came.
32

DESTINATIONS

/ JULY-AUGUST 2014

Similarly, the Removal Corridor at the
Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur,
south of Oklahoma City, recounts the
painful journey that brought the Chickasaws west. Interactive exhibits and
historical dwellings illustrate the tribe's
heritage. Sample traditional tribal fare at
the Aaimpa' Café, which serves pishofa
(corn soup).
Oklahoma City's Red Earth Museum,
funded in part by the Osage Nation Foundation, houses more than 1,400 Native
American artworks. Each June, the museum produces the annual Red American
Native American Cultural Festival, an
extravaganza of visual and performing arts
presented by numerous tribes and hundreds of dancers in traditional attire.
The Five Civilized Tribes Museum in
Muskogee is housed in the original 1875
Union Indian Agency building that housed

THERE ARE
MANY JEWELS
AMONG
NATIVE
AMERICAN
TOURIST
OFFERINGS.
the Superintendent of the "Five Civilized
Tribes"-the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole. This
destination features priceless artifacts,
paintings, and sculptures illustrating the
tribes' culture and heritage.
In the 63-acre Standing Bear Park in
Ponca City, a 22-foot statue of Ponca Chief
Standing Bear gazes over the Arkansas
River Valley in a tribute to all Native
Americans. Official brass seals designating
the area's six tribes (the Osage, Pawnee,
Otoe-Missouria, Kaw, Tonkawa, and
Ponca) adorn sandstone boulders in a
circular setting. A museum, pond, walking
trail, and eternal flame of "grandfather fire"
complete the restful park.
The state's crowning gem may soon be
the American Indian Cultural Center and
Museum, a major new development on

PREVIOUS SPREAD: ROBERT HARDING IMAGES/MASTERFILE. THIS PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: COURTESY OF THE SOUTHERN UTE CULTURAL CENTER; COURTESY OF THE INDIAN PUEBLO CULTURAL CENTER; COURTESY OF THE RED EARTH MUSEUM; COURTESY OF SKY
CITY CULTURAL CENTER. FACING PAGE: BRIAN WITTMAN/COURTESY OF MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT MUSEUM & RESEARCH CENTER.

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE



Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014

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