MUSCLE SHOALS NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA
Sacred Way Sanctuary (SWS) serves as an official Interpretive Center for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA), a federal organization that was designated by Congress in 2009.
photo by: Mary Carton
The MSNHA spans six counties of north Alabama’s Tennessee River water basin. It was developed to help preserve the history of this region by focusing on three main themes: music, Native American Heritage, and the Tennessee River. We are honored to join our missions to provide authentic and culturally respectful educational opportunities for the community and visitors to this region.
Native teachings explain that everyone is unique and, therefore, that we learn in many different ways. In order to respect that knowledge, SWS offers a number of physical learning spaces and experiential teaching opportunities that are aligned with Indigenous ways of learning. Along with having an official “Interpretive Center and Museum,” we also have an “outdoor Indigenous classroom” in the form of a 100-acre preserve where visitors can experience our traditional horses in their natural family bands. We have an official “Educational Center,” which also provides hands-on opportunities for children and visitors to learn by viewing thought provoking films that are topically appropriate, observing lectures, and other instructional opportunities.
In addition, SWS is committed to providing Native Peoples and like-hearted individuals with opportunities to experience and learn traditional Native drumming, pow-wow dancing, and Indigenous languages from teachers who are considered experts within their own Native communities.