August 2021
What's New at AIANTA?
CEO Sherry L. Rupert and Denise Edwards (Tuscarora Nation), Office of Indian Economic Development
O me'a"kwa
(I’m going to travel over there, Northern Paiute)

Final Days of Summer
If you haven’t been paying attention, 2021 is turning out to be a pretty good year for Indian Country tourism. We’ve welcomed several amazing new cultural experiences this summer and there are so many more that are still yet to come.

The summer kicked off with the opening of the new MHA Interpretive Center in May followed by the opening of the new Choctaw Cultural Center in July. In addition to the center, Choctaw Nation also cut the ribbon on the Sky Tower expansion of its Choctaw Casino & Resort. This new luxury tower is a veritable tribute to Choctaw art as it features 58 pieces of public art exclusively commissioned for the new project, all created by Choctaw tribal citizens.

AIANTA Seeks Albuquerque-Area Hotel for Go International 2022
AIANTA is seeking proposals from qualified Native American and non-native venues in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area to host AIANTA’s two-day Go International workshop.

Rave Reviews for AIANTA’s New Trade Show Booth
Our new trade show booth has been making the rounds at RES and AZGCOT and we have received excellent feedback on the graphics. Thank you to our partners for allowing us to use your photos!
AIANTA Applauds Senate Passage of Infrastructure Bill
AIANTA applauds the U.S. Senate on the passage of the historic $1 trillion, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The legislation, which passed the U.S. Senate on August 10, by a vote of 69-30, calls for $550 billion to modernize and upgrade American airports, roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure assets, facilitating better access between Native communities and the traveling public.

Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Month (November) is quickly approaching and we are working on updating our NAHM information webpage.

Check out our page and let us know if we're missing any big events or things your Tribe is hosting or participating in this year. Email AIANTA's Content and Social Media Coordinator Jacqueline Robledo and we will help get the word out about your Tribe's events.

Town Hall Series:
Tourism Marketing Initiatives for 2022 and Beyond
September 29, 2021, 1 p.m. MDT
As AIANTA enters its new fiscal year, the association is rolling out an exciting series of new partner opportunities. Joining AIANTA’s already established partnerships with the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the Lewis & Clark National Trail and the Native American Agriculture Fund, we will also be celebrating 250 (and more) years of Native American history in conjunction with the America250 Partnership and a brand new marketing initiative with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
Cultural Tourism Funding Opportunities
Visit AIANTA’s redesigned Funding Opportunities web to find potential funding sources for your cultural heritage programming.

AIANTA collects funding opportunities that may be of interest to Indigenous or Native American tourism & hospitality enterprises looking to grow their tourism, culture, heritage, arts, agritourism or other culture and heritage programming.

AITC Mobile Workshops
During the 23rd annual American Indian Tourism Conference, held in Fort McDowell, Arizona, area tribes will showcase distinctive cultural tourism experiences unique to Arizona. Be sure to come early to AITC to learn more about Native culture and heritage in the Southwest.

Fort McDowell Adventures Trail Ride // © Fort McDowell Adventures
Eric Louis of Acoma Horse Hair Pottery
AITC Silent Auction
The annual American Indian Tourism Conference concludes with an evening gala, the 10th annual Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala and Silent Auction, which celebrates leading indigenous visitor destinations and hospitality professionals.

During the gala, the AITC Silent Auction raises funding for AIANTA’s Hospitality and Tourism Scholarship Program, which benefits Native students pursuing post-secondary degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management and other tourism-related fields. Check out all the amazing items up for auction.

Case Studies in Tribal Agritourism
The first guide of its kind, Case Studies in Tribal Agritourism was created to inspire Native American and indigenous farmers, ranchers and other food producers interested in expanding their agricultural operations to include visitor components.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
In partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), AIANTA is chronicling the stories of the tribes located on or near the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.

The three-year partnership will result in educational webinars, a print/online guidebook reflecting past and present-day tribal attractions at key spots along the trail, and a first-of-its kind map, that will translate key locations along the trail back in their original native locators.

Experience Native America Along the Lewis & Clark Trail
In partnership with the National Park Service, AIANTA is working with tribes adjacent to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to develop cultural heritage content and itineraries. The project is bringing together businesses, attractions, landmarks and other points of interest on and around the trail to help promote sustainable tourism.

AIANTA Opportunities
AIANTA Webinar Series
Poeh Cultural Center
AIANTA's Webinar Series presents marketing tips, funding opportunities and other tips for creating and growing successful tribal tourism enterprises.

Save the Date
Tuesday, August 24, 2021; 12 p.m. MDT

Tuesday, September 21, 2021; 10 a.m. MDT
American Indian Tourism Conference
American Indian Tourism Conference
October 25-28, 2021
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort
Fort McDowell (Scottsdale), Arizona
Sponsor AITC 2021
Extend your visibility by sponsoring the 23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference, the only national conference dedicated to travel and tourism in Indian Country.

A conference sponsorship helps AIANTA augment its hands-on programming at this annual gathering while providing you and/or your organization with increased exposure through our conference marketing.

2021 AITC Exhibitors
AITC exhibitors are located in a highly trafficked conference area, allowing them to connect directly with AITC attendees and share their marketing and promotional materials.

Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala and Silent Auction
AITC concludes with an evening gala, the 10th annual Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala and Silent Auction, held at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. 

As the only organization dedicated to advancing indigenous tourism across the United States, AIANTA recognizes the best of Indian Country travel and tourism at its annual Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards (formerly known as the Enough Good People Industry Awards) ceremony.

Winners of these prestigious awards have made a significant impact on tribal tourism, have helped AIANTA achieve its mission, foster a greater understanding of and appreciation for authentic culture, history, heritage and/or the arts, and showcase the best of Indian Country travel and tourism. Hurry, the deadline to submit is August 31, 2021.
Register for AITC
Now entering its 23rd year, the annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) is the only national conference dedicated to growing tourism in America’s indigenous communities. Every year the conference attracts more than 300 attendees, who attend for the networking opportunities, the high-level keynote sessions, and the informative breakout sessions led by some of the leading hospitality industry professionals.

Discover Native America
Dzil Ta’ah Adventures
Located in the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta, Arizona, Dzil Ta'ah Adventures is intended to educate visitors on the history of Kayenta and the areas surrounding it through guided bike trips. 

Annual United Houma Nation Celebrating ABILITIES Powwow
The United Houma Nation Celebrating ABILITIES Powwow is an annual gathering to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities in the community. The event includes all traditional tribal powwow features such as tribal dancing, singing, drumming, traditional foods and arts. The powwow has become a gathering place for many tribal families throughout the southeast United States. It is held each year the weekend before the Denver March Powwow, which falls in March.

In the News
AIANTA in the News

Re-awakening Summer Tribal Tourism
Native America Calling; August 6, 2021
People are hitting the roads, boarding flights and planning late-summer vacations across the U.S. They are looking forward to traveling after COVID-19 restrictions kept them close to home for months. Native tourism destinations are among the popular places attracting sightseers and tribes, cultural centers, businesses and artists have all felt the economic hit from the pandemic. Some reservations remain closed, but many tribes and Native centers are welcoming tourists back, with some precautions, to help their economic recovery and extend programs, recreation and educational resources to the public.

Travelers Can Connect with People and Places Using the Newly Unveiled Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Geotourism Online Hub
GISuser; August 3, 2021
The newly launched online portal, which has been created through a Geotourism stewardship program overseen by the National Park Service (NPS), brings together many tourism partners at local, state, and national levels along the Trail, including the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA).

Mapping Out Your Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Trek
National Parks Traveler; July 20, 2021
The website was created through a Geotourism stewardship program overseen by the National Park Service, and brings together many tourism partners at local, state, and national levels along the trail, including the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

Tribal Tourism in the News

August 15, 2021

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August 1, 2021

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July 29, 2021

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July 12, 2021

Has your Tribe or tribal tourism enterprise been featured in the news? 

AIANTA Membership
Welcome New AIANTA Members

Tim Blueflint, Shades of Rez Studio (Senior-Pacific)
Travel Oregon (Nonprofit-Pacific)



AIANTA members are well-informed and play a key role in supporting sustainable and authentic tribal tourism that benefits not only member tribes, but all tribes. With your help, we’ll continue to make sure that the right national decision makers hear your voice—and all our voices—so our people can thrive and grow.

Support AIANTA
Shop AIANTA at

AIANTA has joined the AmazonSmile charitable giving program. After you designate AIANTA as your preferred charitable organization through AmazonSmile, Amazon will contribute .5 percent of all purchases to help support AIANTA programming.
Save the Date
Mark Your Calendars For These Upcoming Events

23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference
Dates: October 25-28, 2021
Location: We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, Fort McDowell, Arizona

AIANTA Town Hall Series: Tourism Marketing Initiatives for 2022 and Beyond
September 29, 2021, 1 p.m. (MDT/New Mexico)
Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

The American Rescue Plan has allocated $3 billion to the EDA to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to accelerate the economic recovery.

Through the Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, $750 million of EDA’s American Rescue Plan funds will go towards communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. The funds will support the following:
  • State Tourism Grants: $510 million in non-competitive awards to help states quickly invest in marketing, infrastructure, workforce and other projects to rejuvenate safe leisure, business and international travel.
  • Competitive Grants: $240 million to help communities that have been hardest hit by challenges facing the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors to invest in infrastructure, workforce or other projects to support the recovery of the industry and economic resilience of the community in the future.

Most of these grants have listed deadlines, but it is important you apply as soon as possible because they are "rolling deadlines" and work on a first come, first serve basis.

Sign up for AIANTA newsletters (or update your subscription) now to receive our monthly Funding Opportunities notices.
Successful Cultural Tourism Funding

"Pōhāhā I Ka Lani today announced a grant award totaling $149,854 that will support the Native Hawaiian community through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) COVID-19 Impact & Response Grant. The grant will help to reinforce and strengthen Native Hawaiiansʻ ʻohana (family), moʻomeheu (culture) and ʻāina (land and water) through distributing produce & meat boxes, prepared meals, essential household items, and plant starts by purchasing from local restaurants, food providers, farmers, ranchers, and fishermen."

"Since 1990, more than $17 million has been awarded to over 460 Indian communities and Alaska Native Villages/Corporations."
Thank You to our 2021 AITC Sponsors
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Funding Opportunities
AIANTA collects funding opportunities that may be of interest to Indigenous or Native American tourism & hospitality enterprises looking to grow their tourism, culture, heritage, arts, agritourism or other culture and heritage programming.
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