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Etiquette on Tribal Lands

Some attractions on tribal lands, especially those located along major highways, are intended for tourists. Tribal communities, on the other hand, are home to living people and cultures and should be respected as such. When visiting a tribal community, behave as if you are a guest in someone's home and abide by the etiquette.

General Rules for Visiting Pueblos and Reservations

  • Inquire about rules on photography, sketching and recording. These activities are sometimes prohibited and sometimes allowed for a fee.
  • Direct all visitor inquiries to visitor centers and tribal offices, not private homes or unmarked buildings.
  • Remember Feast Days, dances and ceremonies are expressions of religious beliefs, not shows or performances. As such, they do not begin and end at precise times and should be observed with attention and respect. Actions such as pushing to the front of a crowd, blocking others' views and approaching dancers are considered inappropriate.
  • Limit your questions about religion and culture, as some subject matter is not for public knowledge.
  • Remember that entering private homes requires an invitation.
  • Do not disturb or remove animals, plants, rocks or artifacts.
  • For your own safety and to preserve historic structures, do not climb on walls or other structures.
  • Keep tribal lands clean and do not litter. Burn debris or bury trash. Place refuse in trash containers or take it with you.
  • If you are invited to eat in someone's home at a Pueblo Feast Day, wait your turn and avoid lingering at the table.
  • Teepees are used for religious purposes on the Navajo Nation and should not be approached by visitors.

During Tribal Ceremonies

  • Refrain from walking across the dance plaza, climbing on walls, or entering the ceremonial rooms. Please be silent and do not applaud afterwards.
  • Be patient. Attention to schedules can be rather casual.
  • Do not approach or talk to ceremonial dancers as they are entering, leaving or resting near the kiva.
  • Do not interrupt non-dance participants' concentration by asking questions, talking or waving to friends.