Native American Studies in the U.S. Southwest

Study Anthropology in the U.S. Southwest

Thousands of Navajo elders face hunger, poverty, and hardship each day. Consider participating in the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program through the non-profit organization Anelder. Join in the Native American tradition of the Giveaway Circle and make a difference throughout the year in the life of an elder.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Fly into Phoenix where your guide will meet you at the airport and transport you to Arizona’s only Native American-owned resort, the Wild Horse Pass Resort, located on the Gila River Indian Community. Relax, explore this award-winning resort at your leisure, and learn about the Pima and Maricopa heritage that serves as its philosophical foundation. Every detail of the hotel is authentic and celebrates the culture of the people.

Enjoy dinner this evening with your fellow travelers at one of the hotel’s incredible restaurants and get ready for your road trip USA, where you’ll explore the land and the heritage of Native Americans in the Southwest.

Enjoy a great breakfast this morning before heading north through the desert landscape to explore the life of Native Americans who lived here for centuries. Your first stop will be Montezuma’s Castle. You will be amazed as you walk along paths of long ago and explore the culture of the Sinagua people and learn about their ingenuity and how they survived in this harsh desert environment.

Your next stop will be the Red Rocks of Sedona, where you will explore the ruins, petroglyphs, and vortexes that reveal the people who lived in this spiritual area for thousands of years – an area that draws people from all over the world hoping to feel the mystical energy of the ancient ways.

Here, you will also participate in a medicine wheel ceremony with a Cherokee grandmother. Follow in the ways of the ancient ones with this personalized journey of blessings, guidance, and teachings in a life-changing tradition amidst the heartbeat of drums.

After overnighting in Sedona, you’ll head through Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and the nearby Wupatki National Monument where you can walk around four ancient Native American pueblos. Here, the pueblos are scattered across the prairie and red rocks where it seems impossible to support life – but as you can see, people did live here and thrive! Hike around and listen for their stories. The Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks are also not far away!

Continuing your road trip towards the Arizona-Utah state line you’ll find the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and your hotel for the night which overlooks an outstanding view! The hotel is a Navajo-owned business located within the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Park amid an impressive landscape of mesas and buttes and red rocks. They seek to provide much-needed jobs on tribal land in an environment that honors traditional ways and strives to keep people close to their culture and language.

After exploring the beauty of Monument Valley, you’ll head to Canyon de Chelly where people have lived for over 5,000 years. The Navajo still live there today, farming and raising livestock. Several scenic overlooks provide expansive views, and you can take a hike with a ranger to explore and learn more about the importance of preserving the diverse resources of the area.

Afterward, you’ll head to the Four Corners Monument where you can stand on the spot where four states come together! Technically, you’re in New Mexico here, but the monument is on the corner!

From here, you’ll head to Colorado along a road called the Trail of the Ancients. Along this National Scenic Byway, see the diverse landscapes, stunning geological formations at Natural Bridges National Monument, and eventually reach Mesa Verde National Park. You’ll stay overnight here and begin to discover these well-preserved cliff dwellings. On your guided tour, you can explore hundreds of homes and villages where you can climb ladders, crawl through tunnels, and imagine the life of the people.

After exploring more of Mesa Verde this morning, continue to imagine life thousands of years ago along the Trail of the Ancients in Colorado as you tour the Crow Canyon Archeological Center and the Lowry Pueblo. Then begin to head south into New Mexico to Farmington where you can explore the ruins of two pueblos: Aztec Ruins National Monument and Salmon Ruins. At Chaco Culture National Historical Park, you’ll discover the most extensive excavated prehistoric ruins in North America. Learn more at the beautiful Navajo Museum of Art and Culture in their New Mexico Arts and Culture District.

Head towards Gallup, New Mexico, on famed Route 66, where you’ll overnight!

After another delicious breakfast to fuel more travels, visit the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America, Acoma Pueblo. Here the story of the Southwest from its beginnings as the home of the Anasazi people comes to life through your Native American guide.

You’ll now be heading to an incredible finale to your exploring of the heritage of Native Americans in the Southwest: the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow! It is here you will gain a tremendous appreciation for the diverse cultures that make up these peoples, as Native Americans gather together from across the United States and Canada for the largest Pow Wow in the U.S. 

After today, you will always remember the heartbeat of the drums, the spectacular, colorful dancing, and the faces of the people as Indian Nations come together for this incredible annual event. Enjoy this fantastic celebration as a joyous culmination of your Native American travels through the Southwest.

Today, you say farewell to the traditions, diverse cultures, and unique landscapes of the past week, you will journey home with amazing memories and newfound friends. May you return one day to experience more of the heritage of Native Americans.

The diverse cultures of Native Americans of the Southwest await you on a road trip USA! From Arizona to Colorado to New Mexico, explore the life of early Native Americans hidden in ruins, petroglyphs, and ancient landscapes. Walk along the trails of the past. Meet the Navajo people and learn their stories and gain an understanding of their lives and challenges. Experience the rhythmic energy of the drums, the songs, and the colorful dancing at the largest Pow Wow in the US. Join this exploration into the paths of the ancient ones as they merge with today.


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