Trafalgar believes in its mission to leave a positive impact on the people and places we visit. One of the ways we do this is by working with local communities to develop our tours. We have recently partnered with local Indigenous communities of the Dakotas to develop a first-of-its-kind tour – National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas. The tour offers truly unique insights into Native American history and culture in the Dakotas. It’s run by – and directly supports – the local Indigenous tribes of the Dakotas. We learn more about this incredible USA tour and how it’s supporting Indigenous communities.
EXPERIENCE IT: National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas
We’re leading by example
Trafalgar is currently the only global tour operator offering the experiences in our National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas tour. Some of these remarkable experiences include visiting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and meeting members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. You’ll spend the day with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe at the Rosebud Indian Reservation and learn about life at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. You’ll also get an insight into the culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara peoples at the MHA Nation Reservation. These experiences offer a meaningful connection between our guests and the local communities. We hope it serves as encouragement for other USA tour operators.
When creating this tour it was really important for us that the main takeaway for our visitors is to really understand we are not these poor broken people living in poverty in the middle of the United States of America. We are actually a strong people who are actually trying to do something positive within our homelands to make life better for our people.Sarah Kills In Water – Member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
Indigenous representation is important
Our National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas tour has by far the highest Indigenous business representation on any trip within The Travel Corporation. It also has one of the highest representations within the entire group tour industry in the USA. We’re proud to say 92% of all experiences on the trip are Indigenous owned and/or operated and all payments are made directly to those communities.
What motivated me to push for tourism on the Rosebud Reservation was the potential for cultural revitalization. We can use tourism as a tool and the mechanism to drive the revitalization efforts of the tribe to bring back our language, culture, arts, crafts, and Indigenous foods, among other things. There was a huge need to revitalize our culture and bring the youth into this work.Sarah Kills In Water – Member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
We partner with Indigenous communities
Trafalgar worked directly with the Indigenous communities to develop a suitable tour for guests. We knew that associating an iconic brand like Trafalgar with these tourism initiatives would help put the Dakotas on the map. Our team offered guidance into the requirements from a global tour operator perspective, while community leaders developed purposeful experiences that best represented their unique cultures.
I think it’s really important to develop tourism in the Dakotas because it’s kind of lacking in all of the nine reservations. I really believe it would help and also put us on the map and bring in more tourism, and it would help our economy.Teddie Rae Hermin – Member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
Authentic dining experiences
Trafalgar’s tours are known for their fantastic meals and Be My Guest experiences. But on our National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas tour, a whopping 40% of the included meals are with Indigenous communities. You’ll enjoy a lunch prepared by a local Lakota family at Lakota Artist Studio on Pine Ridge Reservation. Later dig into a lunch of traditional foods at Turtle Crossing at the Rosebud Indian Reservation. You’ll also learn about Rosebud’s food sovereignty projects and life on the reservation from a community member.
At the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, we’ll learn about traditional plants and medicine. You’ll even make your own tea mix based on what you’d like to heal or treat. At the MHA Nation Reservation, we’ll enjoy a delicious traditional dinner. You’ll also witness dancers and singers sharing a cultural performance, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people.
I would like visitors to realise that we’re tribal members, we’re still here in South Dakota and we’re friendly people. I would like for them to understand our culture and to know it, so when they go somewhere and somebody says something like “Are Native Americans even still alive?”, they can say “Oh yes we went to this reservation” – Rosebud, Pine Ridge or Standing Rock, or talk about all tribes in South Dakota, and say this is what we learned. So I’d like them to take away a bit of the culture we shared with them.”Teddie Rae Hermin – Member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
Come and experience this one-of-a-kind tour with us, and visit the National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas