Visiting a reservation can be a fantastic way to learn more about the heritage and history of Native American tribes. While your first visit to a reservation is certainly exciting, there are some considerations you should keep in mind prior to your visit. Having a deep respect for the residents and their expectations will definitely go far in how much you get out of your trip. Here are three factors to be mindful of when planning your reservation visit.
Be Mindful of the Rules
Some reservations simply do not allow outside visitors. Do not take offense to this and remain respectful that the tribe wishes to maintain privacy for its residents. While some reservations are closed off to visitors, there are plenty of reservations that welcome those hoping to visit! Even if visitors are accepted within a reservation, be sure to check ahead of time to make sure you're aware of any rules that apply. For instance, some reservations do not allow photography of any kind. Similarly, others may prohibit alcohol within reservation boundaries. If you are unsure of what is allowed or not, be sure to contact the reservation ahead of time to get a clear understanding of what to expect.
Learn Something New
Use your visit to a reservation as an opportunity to learn something new. Many reservations will offer learning centers specifically designed for visitors to the reservation where information about the history of the reservation itself and the tribe can be found. Some learning centers may offer presentations that will delve deeper into the history of the reservation's formation including information regarding the surrounding land and the tribe's connection to it on a cultural, spiritual, and historical level. When visiting a learning center such as this, use the opportunity to ask the staff questions on topics that you are curious about and keep an open mind to learning more.
Supporting Native Business
Visiting a reservation is an excellent opportunity to support native businesses. Small businesses run by families and residents of the reservation rely on the patronage of their guests, so be sure to frequent a few on your visit! Restaurants, convenience stores, cafes, and retail shops are just a few examples of types of businesses you can support on your trip. Many reservations also encourage guests to shop for handmade items including jewelry, clothing, and home goods. Supporting these businesses not only supports the tribe itself but encourages a spirit of shopping small in an ever-expanding digital world.
For more information on Indian reservations like the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, contact a professional near you.Share