Native American culture is one of beautiful artwork, literature, music, and history. As one of the oldest cultures in the world, it’s had such a lasting impact on us today, especially in the United States. There are over 500 Native American tribes, each with its own unique customs and traditions. In cities like Santa Fe or Oklahoma, you’ll find lots of different sites, museums, and cultural events that do important outreach, educational, and preservation work. If you would like to learn more about Native Americans but aren’t sure where to begin, here are some Native American culture destinations that will both educate and inspire.

Red Earth Art Center & Red Earth Festival (Oklahoma City)

Native American Culture Destinations Red Earth Festival

[Above image “Red Earth Parade | Southern Fancy Dancers” by Red Earth Festival on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

The Red Earth Art Center and Festival is a wonderful place to experience Native American culture. The Festival promotes contemporary and historical art by Native Americans, as well as educational and outreach programs. There are a number of events they run throughout the year that showcase different forms of art, but if you take cheap flights in October you can make it to FallFest. This annual event is a great place to take the family and learn more about Native America, especially because it has high-quality arts and crafts, music, dance performances, and lots of food. This event is located at the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens that span 17 acres of greenery and even has a large lake.

National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C. & New York City)

Indian Native American Culture Destinations like the National Museum of the American

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a wonderful place to learn about Native America. It’s housed in the two locations: the historic U.S. Custom House in lower Manhattan in New York City and on the National Mall in the Washington D.C.  It was created by legislation that also established and empowered the Smithsonian Institution. If you go to either location, you’ll find exhibitions of Native Americans throughout history, as well as continuing works of art by living artists. Some exhibitions include art and artifacts from the Pacific Northwest, pottery that dates back to before European contact, and contemporary exhibits.

The Gathering of Nations (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Native American Culture Destinations like the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow

[Above image “Young Women Waiting” by Patrick Trujillo – Photography on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the world’s largest pow wows and features Native American dances and music that date back centuries. You can expect to see dances from groups representing the Teton Sioux, Seminole, Navajo, and many other tribes — with dancers and attendees wearing a variety of traditional Native American clothing and dress. Held annually in April, the Gathering of Nations is one of the largest and important Native American culture destinations that someone can visit. Along with taking in the dancing and music, you can also shop for jewelry, art, and more at the Indian Trader’s Market, as well as enjoy amazing native foods.

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The Eiteljorg Museum (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Native American Culture Destinations like the Eiteljorg Museum

[Above image “Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art” by susi.bsu on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

The Eiteljorg Museum is dedicated to the art and artifacts of Native Americans. It has an expansive collection that includes contemporary and historical exhibits. There is a great deal of focus on Native Americans in Indiana and their presence in the state, as well as contemporary art. Much of the collection includes items such as pottery and artwork that date back to before European contact. The Eiteljorg offers access to people and artifacts that are unique to the Native American experience. If you’re up for an adventure, travel to Indianapolis, Indiana!

The Cherokee Heritage Center (Tahlequah, Oklahoma)

The Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is dedicated to the preservation of Cherokee culture. The Center holds over 13,000 artifacts from many centuries ago and showcases traditional Native American ceremonies and art. One of the most notable exhibits is the Trail of Tears exhibit, which commemorates the journey of the Cherokee people during their relocation to Oklahoma. The center also provides access to unique art, music, and dance performances that are held throughout the year. Taking your kids on a trip to the Cherokee Heritage Center is a unique and memorable experience.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Native American Culture Destinations like The Cherokee Heritage Center

Santa Fe is known for many things, but its strong Native American culture makes it a particularly interesting place to visit. There are over 100 museums within the city, many of which focus on Native American history and culture. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is an especially great place to learn more about history and customs. Highlights of the museum include art and artifacts from many different tribes, contemporary Native American art, and a calendar of events for visitors. Santa Fe is a unique city that you don’t want to miss out on!

Crow Native Days (Crow Agency, Montana)

Crow Native Day is a wonderful place to experience Native American culture. They provide traditional native arts and crafts, as well as contemporary art from artists of the Crow tribe. The event is held annually and typically has a great deal of food available, which you can pair with Crow music and dance performances. It’s the perfect way to experience Native American culture. They also provide outreach programs to educate youth about Native American history and culture, making it perfect for the whole family.

Have you been to any other Native American culture destinations? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About The Author

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.