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Old 11-03-2006, 01:29 PM   #1
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Top 10 Native American Spots in USA TODAY!!!

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10 great places to honor American Indian life
Posted 11/2/2006 8:47 PM ET

Celebrate the original peoples of our country during National American Indian Heritage Month in these culturally significant and spectacular locations. Helen Maynor Scheirbeck is senior adviser for museum programs at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. She shares her favorite Indian outings with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.

Sky City

Acoma Pueblo, N.M.

Built above a 370-foot bluff for strategic defense against Spanish conquistadors and rival Indian raiders, Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA. "When you stand on top of the mesa, it's amazing. You realize how they've lasted 10 centuries," Scheirbeck says. Tickets for mesa visits are sold at Sky City Cultural Center and Haak'u Museum, where elegant black and white pottery, weavings and other handwork are displayed. 800-747-0181;

Penobscot Nation Museum

Indian Island, Maine

"The Penobscots are the original natives of Maine, and their reservation is near Old Town. Visit their small museum and see a birch-bark canoe made without screws or nails, sewn up with spruce root and waterproofed with pine pitch," Scheirbeck says. 207-827-4153;

North Carolina Indian Cultural Center

Pembroke, N.C.

Strike at the Wind "is a theatrical musical performed under the stars in an amphitheater at the center where Lumbee Indians commemorate Henry Berry Lowrie, a Native American Robin Hood. A variety of musical shows, powwows and seasonal festivals and a barbecue cook-off are featured throughout the year." Save time for canoeing and antique shopping, too. 910-521-0835;

Alaska Native Heritage Center


The center is a gathering place to celebrate Alaska's 11 distinct native cultures in art, song, storytelling and dance. Guided tours and sleigh rides also are available. "The train ride from Anchorage into Denali National Park, with its caribou, moose, glaciers and Mount McKinley, is a must," Scheirbeck says. 800-315-6608;

Makah Tribe Reservation

Neah Bay, Wash.

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the northwestern-most point in the continental USA, the reservation offers hiking trails, whale watching and fishing charters. "Visit the phenomenal Makah Museum with its full-size longhouse and four cedar canoes," Scheirbeck says. "The Makah are known for canoe carving, canoe racing and fishing. Their beautiful beadwork is distinctive because they use olivella shells. They also make the most delicious baked and smoked salmon in the world." 360-645-2711;

Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Lakota

Pine Ridge, S.D.

Less than an hour from Badlands National Park, where bison and sheep still roam the grass prairies, is the 2-million-acre reservation. "The scenery is breathtaking, and there's a heritage center at the Red Cloud School as well as the Wounded Knee Memorial to visit. In view of the historic tragedies they've suffered, they are among the most hopeful and resilient Indians," Scheirbeck says. Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments also are in the area. 605-867-5821;

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Bayfield, Wis.

The Red Cliff Reservation, nestled along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, manages a fish hatchery that is open for public tours. "Beautiful murals located in buildings throughout the reservation depict their traditional way of life. A small community of basket makers and weavers continue to craft fine handwork that is sold locally," says Scheirbeck. There are tons of hiking trails and fishing opportunities, and the views are spectacular. 715-779-3700;

Blackfeet Tribe Reservation

Northwestern Montana

Along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the reservation borders Canada and Glacier National Park. "They have 1.5 million acres and their own tribal college. It's very rich in landscape and culture. The annual powwows and all-American Indian days are especially fun," Scheirbeck says. She recommends staying at the lodge in the park, where Indian singing, dancing and theater are often performed. 406-338-7521;

Navajo Nation sites

Window Rock and Chinle, Ariz.

Window Rock, a mystical rock formation named for the hole in a 200-foot sandstone hill, is one of the natural marvels of the Navajo Nation and site of its tribal museum and zoo. Chinle refers to the mouth of the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, a spectacular backdrop for hundreds of ruins and sacred places. "Hike to the bottom of the canyon-like valley and see Navajos farming there," Scheirbeck says. 928-871-8504;

Taos Pueblo, N.M.

The multistoried adobe buildings have existed well over 1,000 years and appear today much as they did when explorers arrived in northern New Mexico. "Check their Web calendar for ceremonial dances open to the public and the annual powwow. Save your appetite, too. Any of the New Mexico pueblo villages make delicious bread in outside ovens known as hornos. The smell is wonderful and will lead you to it," says Scheirbeck. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taos also is great for winter sports. 505-758-1028;

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