Top 10 Places Where Authentic Native Culture Lives

Posted By Paul G May 10th, 2017 Last Updated on: December 9th, 2019

Native culture isn’t just something old and dusty in a museum – it is alive and thriving.
All across the USA and Canada, there are many places where the stories and traditions of Native Americans are being told in new and exciting ways.

From Pow Wows to museums to film festivals and much more, there are many places where you can immerse yourself in the rich culture of American Indian communities around the country.

Sky City Cultural Center and Haak'u Museum

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Here you can see the centuries-old homes of the Acoma people and learn about the traditions that have been passed down for generations. The tour is fascinating – you will learn about all of the ways that the tribe has survived over the years high above the desert floor without any ground water.

Find out more!

Unto These Hills

Mountainside Theatre, Cherokee, North Carolina

The outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” debuted in 1950 and since then it has been seen by over six million people. This powerful and moving theatrical performance tells the story of the Cherokee people from 1780 to the 21st century. It is performed under the stars at the beautiful Mountainside Theatre, so you can watch from a blanket on the grass. Although it is a family friendly production, it depicts the hardships and tragedies of Cherokee history and will give you a deeper understanding of the difficulties that this tribe has gone through.

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The Gathering of Nations

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Gathering of Nations is the largest powwow in the entire country and is thought to be the biggest gathering of tribes in the world. This huge summer event brings over 150,000 visitors from all over to enjoy traditional music and performances and watch the Miss Indian World pageant. The event also features the Indian Trader’s Market where you can shop for beautiful handmade products.

Pueblos Buffalo Dancers – 2017 Gathering of Nations Darren Thompson Performs at Gathering of Nations Pow Wow Another Must See at GON! Sweetgrass First Nation Man Chosen as Head Dancer 2017 Miss Indian World – Gathering of Nations Pow Wow

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The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Albuquerque, New Mexico

This is another great place to visit that is more than just a museum – it is a living center for Indian culture. As well as the 10,000 square foot museum there are also changing exhibits highlighting the work of modern artists, traditional Indian dance performances, artist demonstrations and much more.

Find out more!

The American Indian Film Festival

San Francisco, California

This festival is the oldest one dedicated solely to Native American films and it was a groundbreaking event that paved the way for the American Indian Film Institute to be established. It is a great opportunity to hear both ancient and modern stories of Native culture, being told by creative and talented directors and filmmakers from the Native community.


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The Santa Fe Indian Market

Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico is rich in Native American culture and during your visit you’ll want to take the opportunity to visit the Santa Fe Indian Market. It is a dazzling marketplace that brings together the most talented Native American artisans from all across North America. Here you will find gorgeous handmade pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings and so much more. Plus, you will get to meet the artists and talk to them about their craft.

Find out more!

Taos Pueblo

New Mexico

The families who live at Taos Pueblo live their lives in the same way that their ancestors have for centuries, in adobe homes with no electricity or running water. Taos Pueblo is believed to be 1000 years old – one of the longest continuously inhabited communities in the nation. Today it is a United Nations World Heritage Site and you can take a tour to learn about what life is like here.

Find out more!

National Museum of the American Indian

Washington, DC

This Smithsonian museum has a huge collection of fascinating American Indian artifacts and artwork, covering cultures from Central, North and South America. However, you can find more than just museum exhibits here. Native history comes to life here with a full calendar of public programs including traditional music concerts, festivals, and performances. Also, you can dine in the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, which has a superb reputation for its authentic cuisine.

Find out more!

The Cherokee Heritage Center

Tahlequah, Oklahoma

A visit to this heritage center will be a great opportunity to learn about native history and culture. You will learn about the tragic Trail of Tears where the tribe was forcibly moved to Oklahoma in the 1830s and you can visit Diligwa – a living history village that depicts Cherokee life as it would have been in the early 1700s. The center also offers cultural classes where you can learn about traditional Cherokee arts, such as basketry and pottery.

Find out more!

The Heard Museum

Phoenix, Arizona

This museum is dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of Native Americans in the Southwestern USA and it is home to around 44,000 objects, including Zuni jewelry, Navajo textiles and much more. The museum offers a free guided tour that is packed with very interesting information about native culture and history. Also, the events calendar is filled with workshops, festivals, classes and art expos.  They are also home to the annual World Hoop Dancing Championships!

Find out more!

Where will you go on your quest to experience authentic living native culture?

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TAGGED:    nativeamericantravelguide    powwowvisitorsguide    travel  
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Bob Wiese

Where are Seminole museum or heritage sites in Florida?
and or Pow wow sites also?
Bob W.

Diana Leanne Roberts-Elza

From the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns: American Indian Sites in Georgia


From 10 Historic Native American Sites in Georgia


From Native American Landmarks of GA:


From Lostworlds.org
3 pages of Native American Sites & Landmarks in Georgia

Some of my favorite include the mounds (there are a few), and Indian Springs.

Diana Leanne Roberts-Elza

Thank you for posting this?

Amber Star

Thank you Paul, I received your emails, will look forward to listening to the native music available 24/7 thank you so much, just watching a ceremony on video, will continue to get more info regarding the Pow WOW ‘s, just haven’t had the time to review all the posts you sent me, again thank you💛😁


I would like to know what’s the Osage tribe look like ?

Lloyd Rhodes

I have been to five of these locations in the past. Including the National Museum of the American Indian, which my Mother was ever so happy to see.

Dennis Garcia

Because of this Coronavirus the two pow wows or should I say three pow wows that are given here in New York City had to be cancelled so sad not being able to celebrate my culture


I’m looking for a powwow in July 2020 in or near Salt Lake City

Running DOE

osiyo need to know when the powwow starts n Cherokee North Carolina will it be on video,

Zannah Martin

I am writing a novel about a Lenni-Lenape woman who lived 1730 -1802 in Chester County Pa. I would love to co-author this book with someone closer to the culture than I am.

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow