Visitors to the Scottsdale area have long been pleased with the diversity of high quality vacation experiences found in the community. Popular options range from sport, recreation and spa services at the luxury resorts to varied shopping opportunities and arts and cultural programs scheduled at local museums and theaters. There are many interesting and historic sights, great restaurants, excellent parks and scenic vistas, but until recently one of the missing options was an opportunity for visitors to experience the regions Native American culture. Thanks to the work of the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Scottsdale Cultural Council, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, there are now several options with focus on Native American cultural experiences.
Native Trails offers a series of free festivals that are held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall outdoor promenade each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in November and from January through April. These events feature cultural presentations and performances which are representative of Arizona tribal traditions, including the Hopi, Apache and Navajo. Festival highlights include hoop dancing, tribal ceremonies, music played on traditional instruments, singing and tasting of indigenous foods like Navajo tacos and Indian fry bread. Contact: 866-456-2390
The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has opened its doors in various ways for visitors to experience a selection of activities on its native lands. The reservation covers 40-square miles and its entrance is located just east of Scottsdale.
There are several public recreation options such as Ke Ko Pa, its 18-hole golf resort, that is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public courses and the Fort McDowell Casino and showroom. A small cultural museum is found near the reservation recreation park, and there is a rodeo arena where tribal ceremonies, pow wows and Native American rodeos are held. Two events in which members of different tribes compete are the March Native American Rodeo and Spring Roundup and the week-long Orme Dam Celebration, Rodeo and Pow Wow which is held in November.
Fort McDowell Adventures organizes special events and tours for groups visiting the reservation. Programs offered include private events and meals at its La Puesta Del Sol and The Ranch. These outdoor event venues are decorated in heritage themes, and activities include cowboy games, group photos, barbeques and Western/Native demonstrations. Adventure packages at the stables include the Verde River Trail Ride, a City Slicker Cattle Drive, hay wagon rides and other options.