Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 36

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE

Other Must-See Stops

A

Village in Cherokee, N.C., just over the
southern edge of Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. More than a museum, the
village re-creates a mid-1700s Cherokee
settlement, and tribe members demonstrate traditional skills, arts, and crafts.
During the summer, the tribe stages
Unto These Hills at the nearby Mountainside Theatre, a drama that tells many
centuries of Cherokee history, including
the Trail of Tears in 1838.

Arizona and Navajo Lands

Diverse (from top): Spirit Dancer
at the Museum of Indian Arts and
Culture in New Mexico; Cliff Palace
at Mesa Verde National Park in
Colorado; Powwow at Wanuskewin
Heritage Park in New Mexico; and
Oconaluftee Indian Village in North
Carolina.

36

DESTINATIONS

/ JULY-AUGUST 2014

Another tribe to happily embrace tourism
is the Navajo Nation. Its tribal lands straddle northeastern Arizona, southeastern
Utah, and northwestern New Mexico.
Navajo territory includes three of the
world's most breathtaking attractions-
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,
a land of towering red sandstone spires,
buttes, and monoliths; Antelope Canyon
Navajo Tribal Park, with the swirling red
walls of slot canyons; and the sheer walls
of Canyon de Chelly National Monument,
whose cliffs still shelter farmers' homes.
Arizona's then little-known Hualapai
people made tourism news when they
developed the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
This gravity-defying glass loop overhangs
the South Rim nearly 4,000 feet above
the Colorado River in the tribe's remote
homeland north of Peach Springs, Ariz.,
west of Grand Canyon National Park.

Groups afraid to step out, as it were,
will nonetheless enjoy the Hualapai's
hospitality. The tribe offers dining, the
opportunity to explore traditional homes,
and a Western village.
Near Phoenix, the Gila River Indian
Community has developed the extensive
Wild Horse Pass Complex. The complex
features a museum, a casino, luxury hotels,
golf courses, a replica 1880s frontier town,
an equestrian center, a motorsports park,
and an outlet mall.
Meanwhile, the Maricopa tribe,
which also runs a casino and resort,
spared no expense in 2011 building Salt
River Fields at Talking Stick, Major
League Baseball's premier spring
training facility. To sweeten the attraction, the tribe added the Pavilions at
Talking Stick, a 1.1-million-square-foot
shopping, dining, and entertainment
complex next door.
All in all, tribal enterprises offer ABA
members and their clients much more
than casinos and resorts. When creating
a new itinerary, remember our nation's
Native American heritage. Your clients
will be entertained-and, yes, educated-
and you'll reap the rewards of customer
satisfaction and repeat business.
Retired tour operator Bob Hoelscher is a
frequent contributor to Destinations and
The Insider, ABA's weekly e-newsletter.

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF INDIAN ARTS AND CULTURE; SHUTTERSTOCK; TOURISM SASKATCHEWAN/
KEVIN HOGARTH PHOTOGRAPHY; COURTESY OF OCONALUFTEE INDIAN VILLAGE.

lthough the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.,
is part of the Smithsonian, and not Native American-owned, it deserves
mention. It's a must-see D.C. attraction whose galleries contain artifacts from
virtually every tribe.
Many other Native American museums are run not by tribes, but by states,
foundations, and the National Park Service (NPS). Some of the best of these
include New Mexico's Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe; the Heard
Museum in Phoenix; the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa; and the Indian Museum of
North America at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota's Black Hills.
Among the nation's best NPS Native-oriented sites are the James H. Cook
Collection at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska, the remnants
of ancient pueblo cultures at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, and the
memorials at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.
In Canada, there are equally fascinating First Nations destinations. Governmental agencies and foundations have helped create such splendid attractions
as the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site near Fort Macleod
in Alberta and the Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.



Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014

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