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Discover Native America: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah    by Tish Minear & Janet Limon order for
Discover Native America
by Tish Minear
Order:  USA  Can
Hippocrene, 2008 (1995)
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Discover Native America is much more than a mere travel guide to the southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico and the western states of Utah and Colorado. There is a wealth of information about the Indians who live in those areas as well as historical accounts of the indigenous people who lived there for centuries before Europeans discovered America. The first chapters of the book are devoted to the history of Indians in each state, with one chapter being allocated to each state with their resident Indians. There was a lot of migration due to droughts, wars, or for other reasons, even in the distant past, and this is also addressed, both in the beginning chapters and in the later accounts of present Indian sites.

The book starts in Arizona, with many Indian sites to interest the visitor, as well as a healthy present day tribe of Navaho. Of course, Arizona also has Grand Canyon National Park, where modern tourists enjoy the amazing views, with or without any knowledge of the Native Americans who have lived there in the past or who still make their homes in the canyon or near it. Having been one of those tourists who simply gawked at this wonderful site innocent of its history, I was especially interested in reading about the people who have lived there for centuries.

Not far from the Grand Canyon are other canyons and wilderness areas that are beautiful and wild. These are all described by the authors, not only for their views, but also as background and homes to different tribes of Indians. Arizona also contains extinct volcanoes, forested mountains, mesas and pueblos, all of which have the sites of past tribes or sometimes living Native Americans. The book is detailed in its treatment of accommodations at or near these sites, how to enjoy some of the rituals of the living Indians, and the many crafts and art works that can be seen or purchased there. More time is spent on Arizona, perhaps because of the tremendous number of sites there, but the other three states are certainly not neglected.

Although Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah receive less attention than Arizona, there is plenty of information for the traveler to those states about the various attractions with more detailed stories about the Indians who are or have been there. There are maps at the beginning of each chapter, with references back to those maps so the traveler can easily find the areas being written about. Specific directions, with highway numbers, are included within the chapters, too. Events and contact information are included at the end of each chapter, and an index at the end of the book provides additional help in using the guide. Finally, there are many pictures throughout the book, just in case the descriptions of beautiful sites aren't tempting enough.

This book is an expanded edition of a guide that was originally published in 1995, written by two sisters, Tish Minear and Janet Limon, who grew up in Colorado and have travelled extensively in the Southwest. The writing reflects their love for this area as well as their intimate knowledge of the Native American culture and customs. I grew up in California and moved to Colorado as a young adult, and I've taken many trips through the Southwest. The descriptions and information made me want to do some more investigating. My copy of this guidebook will always be with me in the future when I travel in these states, so that I can refresh my memory about the various sites and come home having had a richer travel experience.

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