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Visitor Etiquette on Tribal Lands

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A Tribal Nations Visitor Etiquette Guide


Native American communities comprise a diversity of tribal members who practice varying degrees of tradition. Traditionalists expect tribal members and visitors to conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of tribal religion and ceremonies. With this in mind, it must be recognized that a code of conduct practiced at one community or event may not be appropriate at another.

Some communities may have policies about picture taking, sketching and audio/video recording. Visitors should always ask for permission.

Moral precepts in appropriate dress, speech and behavior, and adherence to them, are highly regarded at ceremonial events. An unkempt appearance can be offensive where many people wear their finest.

Do no disturb sites that contain devotions or offerings. These include pipes, bundles, ties, flags of colored material, food offerings and other items. These sites are considered sacred.

The ancestors of today's tribes left many artifacts and ruins behind. Resist the impulse to pick up souvenirs. Native American remains and artifacts are protected federally by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which carries stiff penalties for violations.

A visit to tribal administration offices for additional information is recommended. See individual tribe webpages.

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