Looking for an authentic way to introduce your kids to Native American culture? My family did just that last winter while visiting family in Arizona. Grandma lives in Scottsdale and while we love the art galleries, trendy restaurants and hip shops that populate this section of Arizona, we longed to head out and explore the vast red rock area that makes up Navajoland.
The Navajo tribe is the largest Indian tribe in the United States and the Navajo Nation stretches from northeast Arizona to southern Utah and western New Mexico. The Navajo reservation is the largest Indian reservation in the U.S. and takes up much of the area in the Southwest’s Four Corners region.
A great place to become acquainted with Navajo culture is the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, 4 hours northeast of Phoenix. This intimate museum opened in 2007 and looks a bit like an Indian geodesic dome. It’s meant to resemble a hogan, the traditional Navajo home.
Step inside and your first encounter is with the Navajo creation story. An animated video tells the story of the Navajo myth of the 4 worlds that lead from darkness to modern civilization.
Then head into the main gallery where you’ll see plenty of crafts, photos and artifacts and get to step inside a traditional Navajo hogan. One of the more powerful exhibits tells of the “Long Walk” of 1864, when the Navajo were removed from their homeland by the U.S. military and forced to march to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. They were forced to remain there for nearly 4 years.
The Navajo Interactive Museum is a great way to bring history to life for your kids. If you’re visiting Arizona, consider going native and experiencing the Navajo way of life at the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum.
If You Go:
admission: adults $9, children $6, children under 7 are free
The museum is closed from December – February, but you can arrange a private tour during that time by calling (928)283-6382.
disclosure: We visited as guests of the museum, but the opinions here are all my own.