Or immerse yourself in the customs of the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes at Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation.
As the ancestral home of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes – known collectively as the Great Sioux Nation – South Dakota offers visitors an opportunity to experience authentic Native American culture. Travel the Native American Scenic Byway through the heart of the Great Sioux Nation. Visit the tribal lands of the state’s nine Indian tribes. View and purchase native arts and crafts. Or witness the pageantry of a Native American powwow: Rapid City’s annual Black Hills Powwow attracts native singers, dancers and drummers from across the American West.
Once home to more than a dozen Indian tribes, Wyoming today counts among its residents more than 11,000 Shoshone and Arapaho Indians who live on the Wind River Reservation. Located southeast of Jackson, the 2.2 million-acre reservation is the site of festive Indian powwows each summer. The Plains Indian Museum also holds an annual powwow in the Robbie Powwow Garden at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. Wyoming is home to numerous sites held sacred by Native Americans, including Devils Tower (also known as Bears Lodge) and the intriguing Medicine Wheel National Historic Site. Located in Bighorn National Forest near Lovell, the ancient stone circle with interior “spokes” has been likened to Stonehenge, and is believed to have been constructed by Indian tribes for religious or astrological purposes between 1200 and 1700 AD. Today, the site is used by Native Americans for religious ceremonies, and is open to the public from June to September.
Montana makes it easy for history buffs to experience a taste of what life in the untamed West was like hundreds and even thousands of years ago. In particular, the state’s Native American heritage is well preserved. The ancestral lands of the Blackfeet Indians, Montana is home to seven Indian reservations and 11 tribes whose powwows and other tribal events are not to be missed. Visit the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning – site of the annual North American Indian Days summer festival – or immerse yourself in the traditions of the Salish and Kootenai tribes on the nearby Flathead Indian Reservation. Witness what’s believed to be the largest modern-day encampment in the world. at the annual week-long Crow Fair and Rodeo, a celebration of the Apsáalooke Nation held each August in Crow Agency.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of what is now North Dakota and today their colorful history is on full display at powwows, earthlodge villages and through tours by NativeWays. North Dakota’s individual tribes have distinct and different origins, histories and languages. Plains tribes are united by core beliefs and values that emanate from respect for the earth and an understanding of humankind’s relationship with nature.
Visit each of North Dakota’s five reservations, talk to the people and visit historically important sites to learn more about the culture of each tribe.