Native American Voices

Journey to the Dakotas and Colorado to learn about the Sioux, Hidatsa, Mandan, Lakota, Dakota, Ute, Navajo and Apache Nations. Admire majestic landscapes including Badlands National Park. Meet with community and tribal leaders, artists and activists. Experience Standing Rock and Pine Ridge Reservations and the site of the Massacre of Wounded Knee.

Sep 26 - Oct 4, 2021  (9 Days)

$4,895 per person, double occupancy

For more Information

(415) 597-6720

Sunday, September 26
Bismark, North Dakota

Independent arrivals into Bismarck. and to the Radisson Hotel Bismarck. Meet at 3:00 with our group to depart for an afternoon visit to the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Our discussion leader Dakota Wind Goodhouse will guides us through the museum. End the afternoon meeting with Danielle Ta’Sheena Finn, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and an acclaimed activist and artist. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner with fellow travelers. Radisson Hotel (D)

Monday, September 27
Bismark, North Dakota

Depart the hotel and drive to Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, a National Parks Service site, which preserves the historic and archaeological remnants of bands of Hidatsa, Northern Plains Indians. This area was once a major trading and agricultural area. Continue on to the Double Ditch Indian Village, a large earth-lodge community inhabited by the Mandan Indians for nearly 300 years, and once a center of trade between the Mandans, their nomadic neighbors, and later, EuroAmerican traders. End the afternoon meeting with Emma Doll, a Native American who set up the Five Nations Arts Organization, a resource to artists and collectors of Native American art in the region. Also meeting the group will be Cheryl Kary, cofounder of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center (SPRC) which was founded by a group of residents of the Bismarck-Mandan area who are committed to the mission of maintaining a home-away-from-home for off-reservation Native Americans living in the area. Radisson Hotel (B,L,D)

Tuesday, September 28
Keystone, South Dakota

Today begins with a visit to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. The reconstructed ‘OnA-Slant Indian Village’ provides an excellent introduction to the earth-lodges of the Mandan Indians who occupied this site. Continue driving along Highway 1806, the Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway, an 86-mile route that climbs up and down the Missouri River, past buffalo herds and eagle’s nests. History comes alive on this journey where the great Lakota spiritual leader Sitting Bull lived and died. Enter the Standing Rock Reservation, home to the Lakota and Dakota people. Meet with Rev. John Floberg, who is deeply committed to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests. With the endorsement of the national Episcopal Church, Floberg provided supplies to campers and hosted protestors in his church. Continue on to nearby Fort Yates, the main town of Standing Rock and enjoy a locally cooked lunch at the Community Center. After lunch, visit the original burial site of Sitting Bull who was assassinated on the western part of the reservation. End the afternoon visiting the Standing Rock Tribal Council Offices which were designed following authentic Native American architectural elements. Drive about three hours to our Keystone hotel, tucked deep in the Black Hills. Dinner at our hotel. K Bar S Lodge (B,L,D)

Wednesday, September 29
Keystone, South Dakota

This morning meet with Sequoia Crosswhite, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He is an accomplished musician, grass dancer and historian, as well as an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and a descendant of Chief War Eagle and Chief Swift Cloud. Drive just over an hour to the inspiring Thunder Valley Community Center. A Lakota run grass roots center with goals to “create models of change that will overpower inter-generational poverty and build momentum towards regional equity.”  Head towards the town of Pine Ridge stopping at the site of the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890. The “battle” was actually a massacre where hundreds of unarmed Lakota women, children, and men, were shot and killed by U.S. troops. Stop in at the Oglala Tribe Justice Center which houses courtrooms, a short-term correctional holding facility, offices for law enforcement and justice officials. Funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the facility is the first of its kind to blend traditional tribal justice concepts with a technologically advanced design. End the afternoon meeting with artist Joe Pulliam Buffalo Dreamer whose work is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of the American Indian. Pulliam has dedicated his art to preserving Lakota culture. K Bar S Lodge (B,L)

Thursday, September 30
Denver, Colorado

Accompanied by Sequoia Crosswhite spend the morning visiting the Badlands National Park and stopping at the Wind Cave National Park, an important spot in the Emergence Story. Continue to Denver making a stop in Boulder to meet with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). NARF has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals who might otherwise have gone without adequate representation involving tribal sovereignty, treaty rights and natural resource protection. Continue to Denver and check-in to our hotel. Enjoy dinner on your own. Downtown Renaissance Hotel (B,L)

Friday, Friday, October 1
Del Norte, Colorado

Depart the hotel and meet with Darius Smith director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office where he investigates, conducts administrative hearings and mediates civil rights discrimination complaints. Darius also serves as the American Indian Liaison to the Denver American Indian Commission that advocates for social and cultural awareness to promote economic and political equality. After lunch, drive through spectacular landscapes stopping at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, home to the highest sand dunes in North America. The mountains, forests, and dunes in the park are sacred to the Apache, Navajo, Ute, and Pueblo Indians. Drive on to Del Norte and the Windsor Hotel, one of Colorado’s oldest hotels. Windsor Hotel (B,L,D)

Saturday, October 2
Ignacio, Colorado

This morning drive about two hours to Chimney Rock, an intimate, off-the-beaten path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains. The site was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. Enjoy lunch nearby before driving to Durango and the Native American Center (NAC). The center provides academic, cultural, social, and transitional support for undergraduate Native American students. Continue on to Ignacio and the Sky Ute Casino Resort, located on the Southern Ute Reservation. The oldest continuous residents of Colorado are the Ute Indians. End the afternoon with a discussion focusing on the social and economic impact of Indian gaming. Gaming has had a significant positive economic impact on the Native American community, yet is not without its detractors. We’ll hear from tribal experts on the economic and political realities. Sky Ute Casino Resort (B,L)

Sunday, October 3
Ignacio, Colorado

This morning visit the Southern Ute Cultural Center and meet with Linda Baker, director of the Southern Ute Cultural Center. Owned and operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to preserve and promote Ute culture. Here we will also meet with Edward Box III, Culture Director of the Preservation Department. Meet with the staff at the Southern Ute Drum, the tribe’s biweekly community newspaper. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. Sky Ute Casino Resort (B,L,D)

Monday, October 4

Independently transfer to the Durango–La Plata County Airport for flights home. (B)

*Itinerary is subject to change

$4,895 per person, double occupancy
$880 single supplement

Accommodations and meals as per itinerary; All sightseeing in an air-conditioned coach; Bottled water on the bus; All entrances and events as listed; Discussion Leader to accompany the group; Pre-departure materials and reading list; The services of a professional tour manager to accompany the group; Gratuities

Not Included:
Airfare to Bismarck and back from Ignacio/Durango; Alcoholic beverages except for wine and beer at welcome and farewell events; Excess luggage charges; Trip Insurance; Items of a purely personal nature

What to Expect

Please note that our itinerary involves some time driving from city to city, as well as, a fair amount of walking around the sites including some stairs and uneven terrain. Most days have an early-morning start and include a full day’s schedule of activities. Participants must be in good health and able to keep up with an active group. Drive times average is between 3-4 hours per day, sometimes over winding roads. The longest day of driving is 7 hours total with stops for touring along the way. In October the temperatures in the region average 55-65 (°F) during the day, and 35-45’s (°F) in the evenings. This program will be covering topics that include violence, and that may be difficult for children. Therefore, we do not recommend this program for people under 16. 

Trip Educators
Dakota Wind Goodhouse
Dakota is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a Native American Studies instructor at the United Tribes Technical College, a Native American owned and operated college. He has his M.A in History from North Dakota State University and B.A. in Theology from the University of Mary. Dakota runs The First Scout blog which focuses on Lakota issues and traditional moon counts. Previously Dakota was an interpreter at the State Heritage Center and Museum in Bismarck. He is both Yanktonai and Húŋkphapȟa Lakȟóta, and was raised in Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.

The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted with Distant Horizons (DH) to organize this tour.

COVID-19: We understand that travelers have concerns about booking travel based on the current COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward, we are hopeful that conditions will be favorable. Should U.S. authorities – Department of State and the CDC – deem it unsafe to travel to and from the destinations in the brochure, we will not run the trip at the scheduled time. As noted below, trip deposits are fully refundable until 60 days prior to departure for this Native American Voices trip.

A $1,000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed Reservation Form, will reserve a place for participants on this program. The balance of the trip is due 60 days prior to departure and must be paid by check made out to Distant Horizons.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 60 days or more before departure: No penalty. Deposit is fully refundable.
  • 61-30 days before departure: 50% of fare
  • 29-1 days before departure: No refund

The tour can also be cancelled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor DH accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.

We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance:
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance as coverage against a covered unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave trip while it is in progress. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. A brochure describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your reservation and can be viewed on the Travel Insurance Services website.

Please note that many travel insurance companies do not cover cancellations due to concerns about COVID-19. Please speak with your travel insurance provider about your specific concerns related to coverage.

Medical Information:
Participation in this program requires that you be in good health. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.

Itinerary Changes & Trip Delay:
This itinerary is based on information available at the time of posting (March 2021) and is subject to change. We reserve the right to change a program’s dates, staff, itineraries, or accommodations as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed, or the itinerary changed, due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, airline schedules, government intervention, sickness or other contingency for which CWC or DH or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays or changes is not included. The minimum group size of this departure is 20 paying participants, should the number of participants fall below this number, a small group surcharge and/or revised staffing will apply.

Limitations of Liability:
CWC and DH its Owners, Agents, and Employees act only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this program (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. CWC and DH shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against CWC/DH for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for the trip, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CWC/DH shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the traveler. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers.

Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40