Ten Native American Tourism Experiences for 2022

Oglala Lakota Living History Village
(Pine Ridge, SD)
The Oglala Lakota Nation has teamed up with the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce and other area partners to open the new Oglala Lakota Living History Village. Serving as an entry point to the beautiful landscapes of Badlands National Park, the village showcases the culture of Lakota Country from the late 1800s on through the 1960s. Teepee displays showcase how the Lakota people lived through the turn of the 20th century with accurate period pieces located inside. oglalalakotahistoryvillage.com

Akwesasne Travel Cultural Tours
(Akwesasne, NY/ON/QC)
In 2022, Akwesasne Travel—the destination marketing and management organization for the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, has unveiled three in-person tours showcasing key elements of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture. In the basket weaving tour, participants will enjoy a studio tour with award-winning artist, Carrie Hill, owner of Chill Baskets. Guests will create their own sweetgrass bookmark using the same ancient techniques employed by Akwesasne artisans. The lacrosse stick factory tour showcases the combination of ancient Haudenosaunee tradition and modern techniques used to make the coveted wooden sticks. Akwesasne is a unique international community and while the first two programs take place in the U.S., the third tour highlighting Mohawk culture and history takes place in Ontario, Canada at the Native North American Traveling College. akwesasne.travel/mohawk-cultural-tours

Native Eateries Garner James Beard Recognition

Two Native eateries have joined the best of the best in 2022, earning nominations from the James Beard Foundation. In Oakland, Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo Nation) was nominated as a 2022 Emerging Chef. Her newly opened Wahpepah’s Kitchen has a seasonal menu that features a variety of specialties honoring Indigenous knowledge such as blue corn waffles, wild native mushroom pumpkin seed mole and acorn cookies. wahpepahskitchen.com

In Minneapolis, celebrated chef Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota Sioux) received a nomination for Best Chef: Midwest. His recently opened Owamni Restaurant highlights pre-Colonial food with ingredients sourced from local producers. Owamni’s fixed-prices menus change regularly but have included such items as bison tripe and tail tostada, and seaweed sorbet with squid ink. owamni.com

New Luxury Casinos Showcase Native Culture

Celebrated as a “Native art lovers dream,” the new $600 million luxury Sky Tower expansion to the Choctaw Casino & Resort opened in 2021 in Durant, OK. The expansion features a collection of more than 6,000 breathtaking pieces of art including 58 pieces composed by 31 Choctaw located along the new, open-to-the-public Art Walk. choctawcasinos.com/durant/stay/sky-tower/

In San Bernardino, CA, the newly opened Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel (formerly San Manuel Casino) was featured among an acclaimed list of global hotels on Forbes Travel Guide’s “Most-Anticipated Hotel Openings of 2021.” Yaamava’, which means spring in the Serrano language, highlights cultural elements throughout. At The Pines steakhouse, a bent wood ceiling was constructed to resemble the basket weave pattern that is a critical part of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ culture. yaamava.com/

Wind River Reservation Mobile Tour
(Fort Washakie, Wyoming)
For visitors to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks, TravelStorys Wind River Reservation is a self-guided mobile audio driving tour that explores the home of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. Fort Washakie High School students completed the first part of the tour which gives a fascinating introduction to the historical and cultural lands of the Eastern Shoshone people. Or, stop by the visitors council to pick up a map of another self-guided driving tour. This map offers a full day (70-mile) or half-day (30-mile) trip that highlights key sites such as the gravesite of Sacajawea, the revered Shoshone guide who guided the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Both tours were made possible with the support of the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Wind River Visitors Council. windriver.org/experience/driving-tours; wind-river-indian-reservation

150th Anniversary of the King Kamehameha Celebration
2022 marks the 150th Annual King Kamehameha Day holiday with festivities planned across the Hawaiian Islands. On O‘ahu, the annual celebration of King Kamehameha Day begins with the Lei Draping Ceremony on Friday, June 10, 2022, at 2:30 pm fronting Ali‘iōlani Hale. Then the 105th Annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade themed “E Ola Ka Inoa ‘O Kamehameha – 150th Kamehameha Day Anniversary,” will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at 9:00 am. Following the parade, the public is invited to enjoy live music, food and more at the King Kamehameha Celebration Ho‘olaule‘a at Kapi‘olani Park. Additional celebrations occur in Kaunakakai, Hilo, Kohala, Kona, Lāhainā and Līhu‘e. sfca.hawaii.gov/resources/king-kamehameha-celebration-commission/

Cedar Bark Weaving to Seal Skin Kickballs: A Master Artist Showcase
(Anchorage, Alaska)
Exploring traditional Native Alaska arts is as easy as booking time at a Master Artist Class at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Recent classes have showcased master artisans at work creating ivory carving, seal skin kickballs and cedar bark weaving, but with new funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), ANHC will expand its master artisan classes. Can’t attend a class? The center’s recently reimagined Ch’k’iqadi Gallery features art, jewelry and more, made by Alaska Native artists from around the state. www.alaskanative.net

Native Coffee Shops Turn up the Heat
The latest in a string of Native coffee shop openings, Next Evolution in Schurz, Nevada was built to serve the needs of the community. Owner Andrea Martinez (Walker River Paiute Tribe) wanted to provide healthy food and coffee options to the community, so the menu features organic coffee and healthy immune-supporting and plant-based food and drinks. Next Evolution joins the ranks of other community-focused coffee shops, including Portland’s Bison Coffeehouse which serves up a carefully curated roster of Native-roasted coffees. After owner Loretta Guzman (Shoshone Bannock) conceived of opening a community coffeehouse to represent her ancestry, she raised the needed funds through the tribal art of beading. nextevolutioncoffeeshop.com/ bisoncoffeehouse.com/

A Sustainable Spin on Cruising with Alaskan Dream Cruises
For a sustainable spin on cruising the Great North, Alaskan Dream Cruises and sister company Allen Marine have partnered with Alaska Native Corporation Sealaska to support regenerative tourism throughout the region. Alaskan Dream Cruises’ small ship fleet—the largest caps out at 76 passengers—provides access to destinations that are off-limits to larger vessels, including various Alaskan Native villages. The cruise company hires local guides in each port to truly showcase the culture. For its efforts, Alaskan Dream Cruises was named an honoree in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 Global Vision Awards. alaskandreamcruises.com

Native Providers Team Up with Major League Sports
Native companies are finding success in forging new partnerships with major league sports teams. Last year, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) announced a new partnership with NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. BBNC, BBRSDA and the corporation’s Bristol Wild Seafood Company (BWSC) began operating the Bristol Bay Wild Market inside the Seattle Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena. “The respect given to the environment and treatment of fish results in a better-quality product and will help our customers understand what sustainable fishing means for future generations,” said Everette Anderson, President of BBWM. bbnc.net/kraken bristolwildseafood.com

Up in far northern California, the Yurok Tribe’s Mad River Brewery is also making history as the first-ever Native brewed beer to be sold in a major league ballpark. Come spring, San Francisco Giants fans will be able to enjoy a taste of Humboldt at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. madriverbrewing.com

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Top Ten Native American Tourism Experiences for 2022

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More Information

Businesses listed in these documents are members of AIANTA. For more Indian Country travel inspiration, visit NativeAmerica.travel.

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