Monday, September 1, 2014

History important on USA tours

When you travel around America today, it's all too easy to forget that, long before the first skyscrapers and highways were built, the USA was a vast wilderness inhabited by native tribes.
As the European settlers who landed on the east coast spread west, these people were, sadly, marginalised and ousted from their land - bringing turmoil to their previously peaceful existence.
While no one can change the past, especially not visitors to the country, as a conscientious tourist it's only right to bear these historical facts in mind as you travel with the likes of Grand American Adventures - especially when visiting places such as Monument Valley in Utah.
At first sight, this region of dramatic geology is a spectacular outdoor attraction in the same vein as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but the reality is somewhat different.
Navajo Nation
This is because the beautiful sandstone buttes lie at the heart of Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory, covering some 27,425 square miles of Utah , Arizona and New Mexico.
The region was established by the Treaty of 1868, which followed a rather damning period in American history called 'The Long Walk'. This saw the US Army force thousands of Navajo at gunpoint to walk 300 miles across the desert from their homeland to Fort Sumner, where they were imprisoned.
Four years later, the US government allowed them to return to their homeland and Navajo Nation was established.
In the 21st century, the region is populated by some 250,000 people, who are represented by 88 Council delegates from the 110 Navajo Nation chapters, or communities.
The three-branch system (executive, legislative and judicial) run by the Navajo is considered to be the most sophisticated form of Indian government and proceedings are conducted in the traditional language, not English.
Responsible tourism
As you explore the wonderful surroundings of Navajo Nation, which has formed the backdrop to countless movies, it's obviously important to show respect to the local people, who consider Monument Valley to be a sacred place.
You can do this by sticking to designated trails, asking for permission before taking photos of people and events, and refraining from drinking alcohol, which is strictly prohibited.
By being respectful to the Navajo way of life, you'll be able to enjoy the incredible landscape of Monument Valley in harmony with the local people and your surroundings, which is ultimately what responsible tourism is all about.
However, this doesn't just apply to Navajo Nation. This sort of history-led approach should inform your whole trip to the USA - giving you a greater appreciation of what you encounter and guiding how you go about being a tourist, whether you're motoring down Route 66 or enjoying the music scene in the Deep South.
This doesn't mean you can't go wild and party on Bourbon Street like any fun-loving tourist should do, but it's equally important to take the time to visit the National Civil Rights Museum to learn more about the tumultuous history of the region, which saw black Americans struggle for their rights over many years.

By doing so, you'll leave the USA having enjoyed a much richer experience, which will not only stay with you for many years to come, but also affect your holidays in the future - in a positive way - too.


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