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Video:Southwest Native Americans

with Judy Hedding

Learn about the Native Americans of the Southwest, and which cultural attractions to visit if you're interested in finding out more.See Transcript

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Transcript:Southwest Native Americans

Native American Tribes in the Southwest

The Native American influence in the Southwest isn't just ancient history, it is alive and well all over Arizona, with more than 20 tribes represented here. Within a short drive from Phoenix, you'll find the Ak-Chin Indian Community near Maricopa, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation near Fountain Hills, the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indians near Scottsdale.

People often associate Native American culture with gaming. Our Native American communities do operate several casinos and resorts on their lands. Many of them have fine resorts, restaurants, golf courses and entertainment venues as well.

Cultural Attractions to Visit

If learning more about Native American culture in Arizona interests you, I can recommend quite a few activities. All year long, you can learn about the native people of the Southwest at one of our nation's most acclaimed museums, The Heard Museum, near downtown Phoenix. A must-see stop on any Phoenix visit, here you can enhance your appreciation of Native American life, history and art.

Just a few miles away, at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, you can stand on the actual site of a prehistoric village occupied at one time by ancient peoples called the Hohokam. Take a drive to north Phoenix to the Deer Valley Rock Art Center where you'll walk through the Hedgpeth Hills petroglyph site with its amazing collection of Native American rock art.

Indian communities are proud to share cultural information with visitors. For example, Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa near Chandler offers a Culture Tour to explain how this resort property was designed within the framework of the local Native American culture. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation also sponsors local events, programs and tours for people of all ages.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

During specific times of the year, there are special events and festivals focused on Native Americans. Some of the most popular are the Litchfield Park Native American Art Festival and the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market. Also at the Heard, you'll find an enthusiastic crowd at the annual Hoop Dance Championships where competitors perform these beautiful dances. At other times you'll find Indian craft markets, pow wows and exhibitions, like the All Indian Rodeo at the Arizona State Fair.

In Scottsdale, you can experience a wonderful program called Native Trails featuring information, music and dance of various tribes. In the fall, Native American Recognition Days offers even more opportunities to understand and appreciate our Native American neighbors. To learn more about Native Americans in the Southwest visit us at About.com.
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