The idea for a Native American-focused educational tour came to us from our previous Nation travelers, people who had joined us on our Civil Rights program. They asked us if we could, working with tribal leaders, create a thoughtful, respectful, and stimulating program that would begin to look at some of the current community initiatives, energetic activist work, legal challenges and cultural engagement of Native peoples in the U.S. A journey where we could hear firsthand from the community about their past struggles, their current lives and their aspirations for the future.
Our goal for this program is to listen and to learn: to hear directly from Native Americans without the questionable filters of history writers, mainstream media representations, even well-intentioned progressive journalists. We reached out to tribal leaders and learned that many in the community are anxious to be heard, to challenge misconceptions, and to share their good work and promising programs.
Our itinerary focuses on just a few geographical areas: the Dakotas, Colorado, and New Mexico, where we hope to gain insight into important aspects of the Sioux, Hidatsa, Mandan, Lakota, Dakota, Ute, Navajo, Apache and Kiowa Nations.
It’s a rich nine-day program that just begins to scratch the surface of these complex cultures. We’ll travel through dramatic Western landscapes peppered with rich historical sites as we meet with community and tribal leaders, story-tellers, artists, musicians and activists – focusing on listening to what they want to tell us, on understanding their hopes for the future, and facing the shameful legacy of the U.S.’s brutal history of eradication and oppression. We hope to have the privilege of hearing singular voices that have been silenced for too long.
- Join a pre-trip conference call with reporter and editor of High Country News tribal affairs desk, Tristan Ahtone, who will lead a discussion about the topics we’ll address on the program. Tristan will provide a recommended readings list and has chosen a group of essential Native American-made films that we will screen on our bus trips.
- Travel with historian Dakota Wind Goodhouse through North Dakota, learning about tribal culture as he shares his personal stories and unique insights into the area.
- Visit the Standing Rock Reservation and meet with Phyllis Young, a legendary Lakota activist and one of the founders of the #NoDAPL movement.
- Enjoy intimate performances of native songs on flute, guitar, and drum with musician Sequoia Crosswhite, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux and descendent of Chief of War Eagle and Chief Swift Cloud.
- Meet Native American publishers and journalists like Avis Little Eagle and the staff of the Southern Ute Drum as they work to provide access to Native voices and to counter misleading coverage by non-native media.
- Visit unique geographic wonders like Wind Cave National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Chimney Rock, places important in Native American history and several emergence stories.
- Meet with staff at the Native American Rights Fund, who provide vital legal assistance to tribes, fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to secure vital treaty rights and protect Native interests.
- Visit the beautiful Southern Ute Cultural Centerfor a behind the scenes tour with director Linda Baker, and learn about the economy of the modern Ute and their experience with casino gaming.
- See the itinerary for complete details.
100% of the proceeds from our travel programs support The Nation’s journalism.