The Four Corners area has been home to Ancestrial Puebloans as early as 500 A.D. and later the traditional homeland for other Native American cultures including Navajo, Apache, and Ute. Visiting these communities can be an educational experience into the Native American culture of the Four Corners region. When visiting native communities, please respect and comply with tribal and community regulations that govern visitors while attending social dances or public events on tribal homelands. Cultural facts and etiquette tips are provided below.
Honoring Native American Culture and Traditions
Always remember that when you visit a pueblo, you are visiting someone's home. Please observe all posted requests and regulations. When you are on Indian land, you are subject to Indian laws. Here are some Native American culture facts and key tips to remember regarding Native American culture and beliefs when visiting tribal land.
• Pueblos prohibit the drinking of alcohol during visits.
• Some pueblos charge a photo fee, while many pueblos do not allow photography at all. Please check with the tribal office upon arrival.
• Cell phones are prohibited.
• Families still live in the pueblos, so use the same courtesies you would use in your own neighborhood. Do not move up close to look into windows or walk into buildings uninvited.
• Enter a pueblo home as you would any other: by invitation only.
• Do not look into or go inside kivas. These underground ceremonial chambers are sacred.
• When attending pueblo dances, keep in mind that the dances are religious ceremonies, so remain silent and do not applaud afterward. Do not ask questions regarding the meaning of a dance and do not talk to the dancers or singers. Do not walk across the plaza (dance area) or between the dancers, singers or drummers.
• It is considered impolite to refuse an invitation to eat in someone's home, so try to eat a little bit even if you have already eaten or are not hungry. But keep in mind that your host will be serving many guests throughout the day, so do not linger at the table after you are finished. Also, your host is not a tour guide, so if you have questions, wait to ask your guide or a pueblo employee.
• Do not remove pottery shards, rocks or any other natural formations from Indian lands. Do not pick fruits or vegetables from fields or trees.
• If you are on a guided tour, stay on the trail.
• Be aware that public restroom facilities may not be available.