How to Visit an Indian Reservation

by eHow Culture & Society Editor
The Pan-Pacific Hula Festival celebrates the traditional dance of Hawaii.

The Pan-Pacific Hula Festival celebrates the traditional dance of Hawaii.

There is at least one Indian Reservation in each state across the United States. If you're planning to visit an Indian Reservation it would be wise to know that they have their own set of laws. Since they are exempt from state taxes, cigarettes and alcohol are sold cheaper on the Reservations and some even have casinos for gamblers. Here are a few guidelines to help plan your trip.

Make reservations. Once you've decided which Reservation you'll visit call ahead for hotel or camping accommodations. Contact the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Center to have maps, coupons and itineraries mailed to you.

Contact the Tribal Management office for the Reservation to become aware of their policies that protect the environment. Visitors should be extra courteous and respect the land that the Native Americans hold as sacred. Ask about recreational activities that are held on and off the Reservation like whitewater rafting and fishing.

Educate yourself about their culture, history and traditions. Read up on the tribe that you're going to visit so you'll understand their values. Native Americans are very traditional and religion is important to their culture. Find information about their cultural dances to interpret some of the story.

Shop for local crafts. Crafts and jewelry are sold around the world. Catch a demonstration on how an item is made. Beading, basketmaking and crafting wood are among their traditions.

Eat and dance. A large part of Native American culture is their food and, more importantly, their dance. Sample some true cuisine and sit back to watch a live dance show. Listen to beautiful drum and flute sounds as they dance to a story of their heritage. Be part of that celebration.

Tour the Reservation. If you're up for gambling then hit the casinos and give it a try. If something more relaxing is on your mind take a peaceful walk through forests or trail off on a gentle horseback ride. Village shops sell many of the local crafts that are demonstrated and much more. Gift stores sell trinket-like items to bring home as a memoir.

Attend a powwow. If time allows schedule your visit during a weekend event to be part of their biggest festival, the powwow. This is a social gathering for Native American tribes but most accept visitors.You'll witness dancing contests, drumming contests, communal dancing and learn about Native American History. Food stalls and crafts stands are set up to make money for their tribe and show off how they handmake items for their daily living.

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