Do you children ever talk about Indians? Does your family enjoy watching television shows centered around Indian culture such as Pocahontas? If so, a vacation built around exploring Native American Culture would be perfect for your family.
While the Spanish may have settled Albuquerque, they weren’t the first people on the land. Centuries before, the Anasazi inhabited the area, and the 19 Pueblo tribes that live here today are descendents of this original tribe. As a result, Albuquerque is one of the best cities to explore and learn more about Native American history and culture.
Celebrate at the Country’s Largest Powwow
Every April, nearly 3,000 Native Americans from over 700 different tribes throughout Canada and the United States gather at University Arena in Albuquerque to celebrate the Gathering of the Nations. At this largest powwow in the country, everyone is welcome to watch as participants take part in dancing and singing competitions. There’s also an Indian Traders Market where 800 artists, traders and crafters display and sell their goods.
If you plan on attending the Gathering of the Nations, remember that with so many people coming to the city, the airport and hotels quickly become crowded. It’s a good idea to make your reservations early so you can still get an affordable hotel in Albuquerque.
Learn More About the 19 Pueblo Tribes
Once the Gathering of the Nations is over, take a short 7-minute drive north to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This museum preserves and displays art and artifacts from the many tribes of the Pueblo people. A lot of the exhibits are permanent, but they also bring in changing exhibits, so there are always new items to discover. Along with a café that serves authentic Native American and New Mexican food, and a gift store that sells authentic arts and crafts made by Native Americans, the center also has a courtyard where Indian dancers and artist demonstrations are held every weekend.
Explore Early American History
If you continue heading east away from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, you’ll find the Petroglyph National Monument. This is another top attraction in Albuquerque where you can learn more about Native American culture. While the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center showcases early Native American culture, the Petroglyph National Monument allows you to truly be surrounded by it. Here, hiking trails will take you past 24,000 carvings left from the ancient Native Americans who first settled the land.
Shop Authentic Arts and Crafts
Finally, end your exploration of Native American culture by driving 10 miles north of Albuquerque to the Bien Mur Indian Market Center. Located on the Pueblo of Sandia Reservation, Bien Mur is the largest Native American arts and crafts shop in the Southwest. It is proud to offer exceptional one-of-a-kind creations, including jewelry, sand paintings, Navajo rugs and moccasins.
If you happen to be in the area on June 13, you can also join the tribe on its annual feast day. On this day, the tribe members come together in a renewal of their religion, culture and language, and the public is welcome to share in the plentiful meals that they prepare.
If you’re interested in learning more about Albuquerque, please read the rest of my guide on Hipmunk’s Hotels in Albuquerque page.
Author Bio: Kristen McCalla is a writer and avid blogger who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., with her husband, cat and dog. When she’s not writing on her blog, 31 Million Seconds, or for the Hipmunk City Love Project she enjoys traveling and exploring all over this beautiful country.
Photo Credits: www.event1001.com & www.thislandis.com