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Visitor Etiquette

In order to make your visit as enjoyable and respectful as possible, the following briefly outlines some general rules of thumb to follow when visiting Native American Country.

  • Native American communities contain a diversity of tribal members who practice varying degrees of tradition. Traditionalists expect tribal members and visitors alike 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.
  • Moral precepts in appropriate dress, speech and behavior, and adherence to them, are highly regarded at ceremonial events.
  • Behaviors that are frowned upon include excessive questioning regarding ceremonial events, excessive talking or laughing, demanding or sneaking photographs or sketches, demanding preferential seating or viewing of a ceremonial event.
  • An unkempt appearance is very offensive at a ceremonial event, where many people wear their finest. Ragged jeans and especially high riding shorts are also offensive at ceremonial events, though they may be acceptable at other gatherings such as craft fairs and some powwows.
  • The ancestors of today's tribes left many artifacts and ruins behind. So should you by resisting 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.

Information provided courtesy of the ANA Office in Lower Brule, South Dakota. For detailed information on proper etiquette for visiting Native American Reservations in South Dakota, contact the ANA Office in Lower, or call (605)473-0561.


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