Native American Voices - New Date: Oct 2-10, 2022
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.
Independent arrivals into Bismarck. and to the Radisson Hotel Bismarck. Meet at 2:00 with our group to depart for an afternoon visit to the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Dakota Wind Goodhouse, 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, will guide us through the museum. Before dinner meet with discussion leader Danielle Ta’Sheena Finn, for a trip overview and briefing. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner with fellow travelers. Radisson Hotel (D)
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.
After lunch meet with Cheryl Kary, co-founder of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center (SPRC) whose mission is to maintain a home-away-from-home for off-reservation Native Americans living in the area while respecting the sovereign nature of their individual Tribal citizenship. End the day meeting staff from the Indian Affairs Commission of North Dakota. Radisson Hotel (B,L,D)
En route to Standing Rock this morning we drive by Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, the last home of General Custer. Continue driving along the Standing Rock 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. Stop at the community of Cannon Ball where we will meet with Phyllis Young, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux and one of the founders of the resistance camps of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests. 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.
We will stop at the Cheyenne River Reservation to meet with Julie Garreau, executive director of the Cheyenne River Project. 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)
This morning drive about an hour and a half to the Red Cloud School, a school founded by Jesuits that incorporates Lakota studies as a vital part of the curriculum. Visit the recently built Oglala Tribe Justice Center which houses courtrooms, a short-term holding facility, offices for law enforcement and justice officials, and a “peacemaking” room for family and group disputes. This first of its kind arrangement saw the Bureau of Indian Affairs fully fund the project which allowed the Oglala tribe to hire their own design, architecture, and engineering firms.
Head towards the town of Pine Ridge stopping at the site of the Massacre of Wounded Knee. The 1890 “battle” was actually a massacre where hundreds of unarmed Lakota women, children, and men, were shot and killed by U.S. troops.
Enjoy lunch in the home of Bette Black Elk, a descendant of the famous Oglala Lakota medicine man Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota visionary and healer.
Visit with members from Thunder Valley Community, a Lakota-run grassroots Community Development Corporation. Learn how they are “building a community” to create systemic change on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Meet with Star Means, an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation.
Return to Keystone and before dinner meet with Sequoia Crosswhite, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a descendant of Chief War Eagle and Chief Swift Cloud. He is an accomplished musician, grass dancer, and historian, and his handmade flutes and musical recordings uphold the traditions of his Lakota ancestors. K Bar S Lodge (B,L)
This morning drive by Mt. Rushmore and through the Black Hills National Park to the Wind Cave National Park for a visit. This site is central to the Emergence Story of the Lakota people.
Continue to Denver making a stop in Longmont to meet with Michael Roberts, president of the First Nations Development Institute which improves economic conditions for Native Americans through technical training, advocacy, and direct financial grants. First Nations is the most highly-rated American Indian nonprofit in the nation. Continue to Denver and checkin to our hotel. Dinner at leisure. Downtown Renaissance Hotel (B,L)
Morning meeting with Sarah Ortega, an artist, actress, and dancer whose piece titled, “Home is Where the Heart Is” is in the Denver Museum of Art and who is featured in the PBS film, “The Art of Home”, which aired nationally in November 2019. Continue on to the offices of the American Indian College Fund which invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.
Depart Denver and 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)
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 Fort Lewis College where about a third of students are Native American or Alaskan Native. Meet with Michael Watchman, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and alumnus.
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 at the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum and meet with director Susan Cimburek to view the Permanent Gallery chronicling the story of the Ute. Sky Ute Casino Resort (B,L)
This morning meet with Linda Baker, a member of the Southern Ute Tribe and a Sky Ute Tribal Council member. Apart from having a wealth of experience and knowledge about the Southern Ute tribe, Linda is a talented beader and she specializes in Ute regalia and Bear Dance accessories for men, women, and children. After lunch at the Fox Fire Farms winery, meet with the staff at the Southern Ute Drum, the tribe’s biweekly community newspaper. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner. Sky Ute Casino Resort (B,L,D)
Independently transfer to the Durango–La Plata County Airport for flights home. (B)
*Itinerary is subject to change
Cost and Details
$4,995 per person, double occupancy
$980 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 tour manager to accompany the group; Gratuities
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
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 September the temperatures in the region average 60-70s (°F) during the day, and 40-50s (°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.
Danielle Ta’Sheena Finn is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is Hunkpapa Lakota, Inhanktowan Dakota, Assiniboine, and Metis. Her Lakota name is Wicahpi Sakowin Win, which in English means the Seventh Star Woman. Judge Finn is from Porcupine/Bismarck, North Dakota. Currently, she serves as an Associate Judge for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, but still enjoys speaking at engagements, working on her artistry, dancing at powwows, and participating in Indigenous activism. She was Miss Indian World 2016, a four day competition that tests one’s knowledge of their tribe’s culture, language, and skills.
Terms and Conditions
The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted with Distant Horizons (DH) to organize this tour.
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:
- 90 days or more before departure: $250
- 61-89 days before departure: $1,000 deposit
- 60-30 days before departure: 50% of fare
- 29-1 days before departure: No refund
The tour can also be canceled 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 the 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.
Participation in this program requires that you be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and in good health. All travelers will be expected to comply with any local COVID requirements in place and sign a waiver to agree to abide by these requirements. 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 (November 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 15 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
Distant Horizons (CST #2046776-40)