Updated: Dec 1, 2022
November is Native American Heritage Month. During this month (and always) we celebrate Indigenous people, their history and culture. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Native American Heritage Day. On the second Monday in October, we recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Listed below are Native American sites in Arizona. When visiting be sure to leave no trace and be respectful of the people and their cultures past and present living there.
The Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center features exhibits including objects and depictions of Cocopah history and culture, along with meeting spaces and a gift shop. “The Museum, which resides on the West Cocopah Reservation, is surrounded by a 1.5-acre park spotted with luxurious Sonoran trees and plants with a replica of a traditional Cocopah dwelling and Ramada.” They are open on Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations are appreciated. View their website here to read more about the Museum and the Cocopah Indian Tribe.
Located on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort McDowell Destination features We-Ko-Pa Resort, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Asah Gweh (Eagle View) RV Resort, gaming, entertainment, and unique shopping. Visit their website here to learn more about Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and where to visit.
Havasupai Gardens is located along the Bright Angel Trail of the Grand Canyon. The people of the Havasupai are native to the Grand Canyon region and were forcibly removed from the area in 1928. When hiking the Bright Angel Trail and visiting the Havasupai Gardens keep in mind the history of the land and the people that have lived there. More information about the Gardens can be found here.
In Phoenix, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is an archaeological site where visitors can see a platform mound, a ballcourt, and centuries-old irrigation canals, showcasing examples of the architecture and engineering of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People or Hohokam. Galleries sharing these people and their way of life along with galleries on the process of archaeology are also featured. View their website here to see more about the Pueblo Grande Museum and plan your visit.
The Hopi Cultural Preservation Office is the place to learn more about the Hopi culture and visitor etiquette. While on Hopi photographing, recording or sketching of villages and ceremonies are strictly prohibited. Visitors are welcome to tour Hopi villages and attend public ceremonies to observe, but first check with the individual villages Community Development offices before proceeding into any of the villages to attend dances. Not all villages are open to the public for ceremonies. Visit The Hopi Cultural Preservation office to learn more about the Hopi Culture here.
The Grand Canyon West is home to the Skywalk and is located on the Hualapai Reservation at the West Rim of the Canyon. The location features the Skywalk, ziplining, kayaking, and sites to immerse yourself in the Hualapai Tribe culture. Visit their website here to plan your visit and learn more about the Hualapai Tribe.
Pipe Spring National Monument has a museum, historic fort, cabins, and garden to explore the traditions of the Kaibab Paiute, along with hiking, living demonstrations, and talks. The Visitor Center and Museum are open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Learn more about Pipe Spring National Monument here.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is home to the Diné people. The monument encompasses approximately 84,000 acres of lands located entirely on the Navajo Nation with roughly 40 families residing within the park boundaries. The National Park Service and Navajo Nation work together to manage the land's resources. Visit their website here to learn more and plan your visit.
The Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is the oldest operating Trading Post on the Navajo Nation. Hubbell Trading Post has been serving Ganado selling goods and Native American Art since 1878. There is no entrance fee, and the Visitor Center is open periodically. You can visit the trading post, Hubbell Home, historic barn, and more. Visit their website here to learn more about the site, its history, and plan your visit.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park features views of the sandstone desert landscape that reaches heights of 400 to 1,000 feet. It is one of the most photographed places in the world. While visiting, visit the local vendors to purchase your handmade goods. Currently, with the Winter hours in effect all entry is based on “First come, First served” entry. Motorcycles are not accepted into the loop drive, due to the rough terrain and deep sand dunes in the area. They ask that masks be worn at all times. Learn more about the Park here.
The San Xavier del Bac Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692 and is located on the Tohono O’odham Nation. It is the oldest European designed structure in Arizona. The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners. It was largely built by the indigenous community and continues to be used for their religious and cultural practices. Visit their website here to learn more about the Mission, its history, and current uses.
The Kitt Peak National Observatory is located on the Tohono O’odham Nation and supports the most diverse collection of astronomical observatories on Earth. They operate three nighttime telescopes, 22 optical telescopes, and two radio telescopes. They are currently not hosting public visitors at the summit or base facilities. Visit their website here to learn more about the Observatory, their collection, and projects.
The Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Center and Museum is also called Himdag Ki: Hekǐhu, Hemu, Im B I-Ha’ap which means Way of Life House: Past, Present, and Into the Future. Visitors should plan to spend one to two hours at Himdag Ki: in order to see all the exhibitions and walk around the grounds. There is also a nature trail but be sure to dress for the Sonoran Desert landscape. Visit their website here to learn more about the Tohono O’odham Nation and plan your visit.
The Sunrise Park Resort is owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The Resort offers the most ski runs and acreage in the state. They offer skiing, snowboarding, ski bikes in the winter, and zip-lining, downhill mountain biking, archery, disc golf, and more in the summer. View their website here to plan your visit.
Prescott Resort is inspired by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. Their artwork is showcased in the lobby and rooms. The resort features a spa, restaurant, and more. Next to the resort is Bucky’s Casino which is owned and operated by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. View more about the resort here and casino here.
The Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center is located in the former site of the Band Building for the Phoenix Indian School. The school was created in 1891 operating as a boarding school for Native American children by the Bureau of Indian Affairs up until 1990. It was created to teach Native American children and assimilate them into a western way of life. The Phoenix Indian School is now called Steele Indian School Park. The Center includes a conference meeting space, classroom space, commercial kitchen, board room, and exhibit space to learn the story of the Phoenix Indian School. View their website here to learn more and plan your visit.
For more information on which indigenous communities’ land you live on, check here.
(Written by Alesha Adolph, located on Tohono O’odham and Pasqua Yaqui land.)