Today, 22 tribes and communities call Arizona home. November is Native American Heritage Month and an ideal time to venture out and experience the history, lands and contributions of these distinct tribal nations.
The Indigenous cultures who have called the southwest region home for thousands of years continue to influence the Arizona experience in significant ways – from ancient petroglyphs and sacred ruins to traditional foods, art and handmade goods.
The brand-new Experience Indian Country Adventures in Arizona brochure from the Arizona Office of Tourism is a perfect planning companion. “Exploring Arizona’s tribal lands and cultures is an important part of an authentic southwestern experience,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Our new brochure is designed to help visitors access these amazing places and experiences in the right ways.”
Here, Arizona Office of Tourism offers a few ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month all across Arizona:
Phoenix and Central Arizona
The tribal communities in Phoenix’s urban area offer a city vibe and rustic charm. With attractions ranging from eagle watching at the Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell to world-class golfing at several courses including the Talking Stick Golf Club at Salt River to Arizona’s only five-star dining experience at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, you’ll be sure to craft the perfect getaway to honor Native American Heritage Month.
Northern Arizona offers a cornucopia of tribal cultures and stunning landscapes. Revel in nature’s glorious artwork in the homelands of the Havasupai and Hualapai at the Grand Canyon or delve into Navajo culture in the heart of Monument Valley. Watch a Hopi Katsina carver at work atop a mesa along the Hopi Arts Trail on S.R. 264, or imagine yourself as one of the first people to traverse the Arizona Plateau at Mu’uputs Canyon in Pipe Springs National Monument.
North Central Arizona
Phoenix’s summer playland is also home to some of Arizona’s most well-known Native peoples, the Apache. Deep in the forested slopes of the White Mountains, outdoor adventure beckons. Enjoy a relaxing stay at the luxurious Prescott Resort or in a cabin at Hawley Lake with a fishing line dangling in the water. Stalk the big game in lands once traveled by Geronimo and Cochise. History permeates the city of Prescott, the original capital of the Arizona Territory, and along the lush Verde River, where the Yavapai and Apache people once lived.
Tucson and Southern Arizona
The Sonoran Desert may appear harsh and hostile to humans, but the Desert People, the Tohono O’odham, showcase how they build a good life and create art from its hidden resources. Stop by Arizona’s only Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star casino resort, Casino Del Sol Resort, to try your luck and hit the links at the Sewailo Golf Club. To experience Tucson’s rich history and culture, visit the Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Cultural Center in the Old Pascua community, which shares the compelling story of the Pascua Yaqui people.
Arizona’s West Coast
The waters of the Colorado River have drawn people for millennia, and thus are home to many American Indian communities. The Cocopah Resort & Conference Center offers quiet, well-appointed lodging with a Southwestern flair. Immerse yourself in traditional Cocopah culture and history at the Cocopah Museum and The Quechan Cultural Center, located at the Quechan Casino-Resort, which showcases Quechan art and culture. Regardless of where you go, visitors can indulge in golf, hiking, water sports, bird watching or just lounging by the cool waters while delving into the history and culture of the river peoples of Arizona’s West Coast.
American Indian Etiquette
In addition to welcoming travelers to their lands, each tribal nation also sets visitor guidelines to help balance community, tradition and tourism. Traveling with an American Indian guide is also highly recommended, as guides offer firsthand cultural and historical insights, occasional increased access and guidance on adhering to traditions.
Featured photo credit: An Pham