When we plan a holiday to the USA, we often imagine the bustling streets of New York or the pristine beaches of Miami.
However, there’s more to this humongous nation, often known as the Land of Liberty. Beyond the flashy city lights and lofty skyscrapers, America is home to 9.7 million Native Americans, one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the country.
Yet these indigenous groups are ethnic minorities and often live in poverty. In fact, an indigenous family in Latin America is three times more likely to experience poverty compared to someone from a non-indigenous family in the same region.
Hence, it’s crucial to support the traditional owners of the land and appreciate their history, traditions, and spiritual connections with nature.
Don’t know where to start? Fret not, as we have compiled this guide to experiencing the magic of the native indigenous culture in your next trip to America.
Why You Should Experience And Appreciate Indigenous Culture
Indigenous people worldwide, besides struggling with poverty, face ongoing exclusion and inequality, with healthcare disparities leading to lower life expectancies.
In Latin America, despite service expansion, their access to sanitation and electricity lags behind. Even after safeguarding 80% of global biodiversity, indigenous peoples’ rights are often neglected, with only a fraction of their lands officially recognised.
Notably, the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples emphasised the persistent challenge to securing their basic rights and integrating them into development processes.
As such, recognising and addressing these issues is crucial for ensuring indigenous communities lead safer, healthier, and more prosperous lives. Consequently, you can support them while holidaying in America by educating yourself on the Indigenous history of the land, buying from Indigenous-owned businesses, etc.
How To Experience The Magic Of The Native Indigenous Culture In America
1. Explore UNESCO-listed Native American Pueblo in New Mexico, USA
Head over to the UNESCO-listed Taos pueblo and, if possible, get in touch with an indigenous guide. Only they can help you learn about the well-preserved adobe architecture and ancient cultural heritage of the ethnic communities.
2. Relive History In Alaska, USA
Discover the diverse tapestry of Alaska’s First Nations cultures at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, nestled by a serene lake near Anchorage.
Within the museum, you can hear immersive stories directly from local indigenous people, enjoy traditional dance and music, and participate in interactive exhibitions. Not to forget the six village sites around the lake, offering insights into the traditional architecture and livelihoods of the Athabascan, Haida, and Yup’ik communities.
3. Soak In The Cinematic Landscape Of Monument Valley
Don’t miss the iconic sandstone formations of Monument Valley, a cinematic backdrop featured in classics like Forrest Gump. We recommend contacting a Navajo guide to show you around the historical site and explain its significance in the Navajo culture.
You even have the option to spend a night in a traditional Navajo hogan, connecting intimately with the ancient spirit of the land.
Immersing yourself in the native indigenous culture of America goes beyond sightseeing. It’s the recognition and appreciation of diverse traditions, histories, and practices. It also contributes to responsible tourism as you support indigenous communities and, perhaps, grow awareness about their culture.
So, let your next trip to America be more than just a vacation – let it be an insightful experience with memories as vibrant as the cultures you’ll encounter!