March 2022
What's New at AIANTA?

O me'a"kwa: Tamano Mah Ni
(I’m going to travel over there, Northern Paiute)
Tamano mah ni. (It’s springtime now, Northern Paiute). Spring is a time of growth and renewal. It is the season for cherry blossoms, maple syrup, Easter eggs, and yes, finally, a return to Spring Break travel. All signs are pointing towards a robust travel season this spring, with more than half of travelers planning travel during the season and one in three travelers planning a trip during Spring Break. In good news for Indian Country, 75% of those travelers are reporting they plan to stay on domestic soil.

If you are interested in growing your inbound visitor traffic, we at AIANTA stand ready to help.

AIANTA is Now Hiring
AIANTA is seeking an energetic, well-organized self-starter to serve in the following position:

Agritourism Specialist, Native Product and Program
Deadline to apply: March 25, 2022
The Agritourism Specialist, Native Product and Program is a full-time, exempt position appointed by the CEO of AIANTA.

AIANTA Launches Fourth Annual Tourism Sentiment Survey
“Although the tourism industry was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs that the visitor industry is on the verge of recovery,” said Sherry L. Rupert, CEO of AIANTA. “This survey will help us collect a comprehensive picture of how Indian Country is feeling about tourism for 2022 and beyond.”

Go International 2022
Attracting Group and International Travelers
April 19 – 20, 2022
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Designed to help tribal tourism businesses attract more group and international travelers, Go International features expert speakers and hands-on presentations that will guide tribal enterprises and businesses in conceptualizing and developing their tourism product(s) and promoting them to tour operators, wholesalers and the travel trade.

Thanks to Our Go International Sponsors
AIANTA extends a warm thanks to Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation and Isleta Resort & Casino for sponsoring this event! Additional sponsorships are still available so please contact us if you're interested.

AIANTA Announces New Partnership with SMS Research
AIANTA Announces New Partnership with SMS Research
AIANTA is thrilled to announce that we will once again be partnering with Honolulu-based SMS Research. SMS will be conducting a comprehensive assessment of the Native tourism industry. You may remember we worked with SMS last year to conduct our first-ever Economic Impact of U.S. Indigenous Tourism Businesses study, which found that Native tourism businesses in the U.S. generate $14 billion in annual receipts.

June 5-8, 2022
Orlando, Florida

Join AIANTA and Indigenous tourism enterprises from around the country in a shared booth at IPW, the largest international tourism tradeshow in the United States.

AIANTA Introduces First Town Hall Session of 2022
AIANTA Town Hall Series: Technical Assistance & Training Opportunities
From Tourism 101 to the intricacies of international outreach, AIANTA’s experienced team helps tribes and native-owned businesses create tourism experiences that honor culture, tradition and history. During this Town Hall, you’ll meet an advisory group guiding AIANTA’s Leave No Trace partnership program, and learn how the group has been working to create resources that will prepare travelers to be more respectful and responsible during their visits to Tribal lands.
Additionally, AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe) and Board President Emerson Vallo (Pueblo of Acoma) will lead an open dialog with attendees on how they can engage with AIANTA in the year ahead. This is your opportunity to tell us what your needs are. How can we help you grow and develop in the tourism industry? What types of training would you like to see piloted at Go International, the American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC), our Cultural Heritage Certificate Programs and through our AIANTA Webinar Series?

It's Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month. Every year, AIANTA lists a few exceptional Native American women leaders in Cultural Heritage Tourism. This year's list includes Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo), Mary Goddard (Tlingit), Penny Peters (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe), Mālia Sanders (Native Hawaiian), and Marie Torosian (Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes). Learn more about these inspiring ladies at the link below.

Welcome New Team Members
AIANTA is Growing
AIANTA is growing! We'd like to extend a warm welcome to Larry Burton, our new BLM Partner Coordinator, who will be working remotely out of his Carson City, Nevada, location. We also welcome Jolene Catron, our new NPS Partner Program Coordinator, who is based right here in Albuquerque. Take a moment to learn more about Larry and Jolene or send them an email to say hello.

GWU Professional Certificate Program in Cultural Heritage Tourism
May 2 – June 19, 2022
Explore the fundamentals of tribal tourism planning with the Professional Certificate Program in Cultural Heritage Tourism offered by AIANTA in partnership with the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies.

The online program brings together industry experts who help students explore the importance of including authentic Native American cultural experiences in their tourism planning.

AIANTA Tourism & Hospitality Scholarship
The Tourism & Hospitality Scholarship provides American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students with financial assistance towards a degree or certificate in hospitality, tourism, recreation, culinary arts or related fields.

Each year, AIANTA awards three individuals who have met all scholarship application criteria. Students are awarded $1,000 per semester (fall and spring semester only). Each student can earn a maximum award of $2,000 per academic school year.

AIANTA Finalizing its Guide to Tribal Attractions Along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
AIANTA is working in partnership with the National Park Service to identify tribes and their attractions along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. The attractions will be published in a print and online guide. We are nearing the end of gathering information for the guide and the accompanying map with traditional place names and Indigenous sites of significance.

It’s not too late to be included. If your tribe or business is along the trail, contact Gail Chehak at

AIANTA Continues Outreach to Tribes Along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Plans are underway by AIANTA’s Lewis & Clark team for a spring trip to North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The team is excited about the opportunity to reach out to tribal businesses, attractions, landmarks and other points of interest on and around the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
AIANTA is working in partnership with the National Park Service in developing cultural heritage content and itineraries for the the travel website of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail,, as well as AIANTA’s tribal tourism-focused website,

American Indian Tourism Conference
Save the Date
American Indian Tourism Conference
"Rising Together for the Journey Ahead"
October 24 – 27, 2022

The annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) will be held at Harrah’s Resort Southern California in partnership with The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians in Funner, California.

AITC, now celebrating its 24th anniversary, is the only national conference dedicated to growing tourism in America’s indigenous communities.

AITC Call for Speakers
AIANTA is now accepting speaker proposals for breakout sessions during the 24th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference. Please email AIANTA’s Education Manager Bianca Mitchell at if you are interested in participating in AITC 2022.

Sponsor AITC
The American Indian Tourism Conference paves the way for tribal inclusion within the larger tourism infrastructure, while also guiding the conversations that help Indigenous communities find their own success in the hospitality industry. Sponsors of the American Indian Tourism Conference help AIANTA lead these critical discussions, while also providing the framework tribes and indigenous communities need to develop, introduce, grow and sustain cultural tourism. Contact AIANTA’s Education Manager Bianca Mitchell at if you are interested in sponsoring AITC 2022.

Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards
The Best in Indian Country Tourism
As the only organization dedicated to advancing Indigenous tourism across the United States, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) recognizes the best of Indian Country travel and tourism at its annual Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards ceremony, held every year during the American Indian Tourism Conference.

AIANTA Webinar Series
AIANTA's Webinar Series presents marketing tips, funding opportunities and other tips for creating and growing successful tribal tourism enterprises.
Upcoming Webinars

Globalize Your Website: A Webinar for Native American Tourism Businesses
March 22, 2022: 10:00 a.m. MST

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses: Business Strategy and Financials in Uncertain Times
March 29, 2022; 10 a.m. MST

On-Demand Webinars

Working With the International Trade

Discover Native America
Redsky Sportfishing
Enjoy fishing and the outdoors? Join us for an adventure with Redsky Sportsfishing in the awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska. 

"My name is Roby Medina and I own and operate Redsky Sportfishing. I am a small-time operation and offer lodging and 3 full days of ocean fishing based out of Klawock on Prince of Wales Island. I’m a lifelong local and an Alaskan Native and have been professionally guiding for 15 years." 

Historic Requa Inn
Located in the heart of the Redwoods on the banks of the mystical Klamath River - sits the Historic Requa Inn. Named for the Yurok "the mouth of the river" the Inn was built in 1914 - with 14 bedrooms and in an Arts and Crafts Inn - where the Owner, Jan Wortman, a Yurok Tribal Elder will share her home, her stories and her incredible cooking with guests from all over the world. This is the first time in 160 years that this property, located on the Yurok reservation has been owned by a Yurok Tribal member, an accomplishment in itself.

Claim Your Free Listing at is AIANTA's premier destination website, connecting travelers to unique American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian destinations in the United States. Join the leading travel resource for visitors seeking authentic indigenous travel experiences!

AIANTA Guides & Publications
Native Tourism In the News
AIANTA in the News

AIANTA CEO Sherry Rupert facilitates national discussion, inclusion of Native tourism industry
Tribal Business News, March 14, 2022

Regenerative Tourism 
Alaska Public Media; March 10, 2022

AIANTA CEO Appointed to US Travel Association Board of Directors
Leisure Travel Group; March 2, 2022

Registration open for Montana Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation
Sidney Herald; March 2, 2022

As Yellowstone National Park Turns 150, Indigenous Voices Take Center Stage
Outside Online; March 1, 2022

CEO Sherry Rupert (Paiute/Washoe) was appointed to the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association
Tribal Business News Briefs; February 28, 2022

AIANTA CEO Appointed to US Travel Board of Directors
Inside Travel Report; February 28, 2022

Native Tourism in the News

Native American event at UH West Oahu seeks to share, celebrate Indigenous cultures
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 15, 2022

Cherokee winemaker turned hobby into business
Cherokee Phoenix, March 10, 2022
Featured: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Primavera ed estate dell'Idaho e del Montana con musica, gastronomia, parate, rodei e raduni di Nativi d'America (Spring in the State of Idaho with Music, Gastronomy, Parades, Rodeos, and Native American Gatherings)
Italiavola & Travel, March 10, 2022

UM Institute Gauges Attitudes Toward Montana Tourism
University of Montana, March 8, 2022

National parks aim to boost tribal nations' role in land management
USA Today, March 9, 2022

It’s time to build Alaska's prosperous future
Anchorage Daily News, March 4, 2022

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park shares Hawaiian lifestyle practices with dynamic new video series

Yellowstone National Park turns 150: Recognizing 'original stewards'
USA Today; Mar. 1, 2022
This piece was written by Eve Chen, who did the USA Today article w/ Sherry right after AITC.

Native Americans are at the heart of Yellowstone. After 150 years, they are finally being heard
The Guardian; Mar. 1, 2022

Motorola's new Cherokee support is about preserving a language—and a culture
Fast Company; Mar. 1, 2022

Sitka to host Heritage & Cultural Tourism Conference
The Alaska 100; March 1, 2022

Feminism, History + Tourism: 16 Places to Celebrate DC's Badass Women
District Fray; March 1, 2022
Featured: Cynthia Chavez Lamar, First Native American Director of the Smithsonian Institute

Protecting the Homeland: Former Principal Chief James Floyd of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation speaks about his connection to Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park and the need to further preserve the site.
The Free; March 1, 2022

Discover Adventure Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Line
TTR Weekly; Feb. 28, 2022
Featured: Icy Strait Point

What's New With You?

Has your Tribe or Native-owned tourism business been featured in the news?

AIANTA Membership
Welcome New AIANTA Members

Kamuela Inn (Native Owned-Hawaii Region)
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Nonprofit-Northeast Region)
Pinnacles National Park (Business-Central California Region)
Portland Rose Festival (Nonprofit-Pacific Northwest Region)
Squaxin Island Tourism (Nonprofit-Northwest Region)

Sue Folsom, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (Senior-Oklahoma Region)
Stefano Gerucci, ACI Blueteam-Universalturismo (Senior-International Region)
Ethel Green, Nez Perce Economic Development (Senior-Northwest Region)
Isabela Lizio, Mission Enterprise (Senior-Southern California Region)
Debbie Mekiana, Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (Individual-Alaska Region)
Paula Wojtkowski, Unapologetically Rez (Individual-Oklahoma Region)
Thank You Renewing AIANTA Members

Kake Tribal Tourism (Native Owned-Alaska Region)
Kootznoowoo, Inc. (Tribal Enterprise-Alaska Region)
Niagara Falls National Heritage Area (Nonprofit-Northeast Region)
Passport to Pueblo Country Tours (Native Owned-Southwest Region)
SweetGrass Trading Company (Tribal Enterprise-Central Plains Region)
Warm Springs Community Action Team (Nonprofit-Pacific Northwest Region)
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, Fort McDowell (Tribal Enterprise-Southwest Region)
Wellknown Buffalo LLC (Native Owned-Rocky Mountain Region)

Ann McCormack, Nez Perce Economic Development (Individual-Northwest Region)
Ben Sherman, World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (Senior-Southwest Region)

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
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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.
Thank You to our 2021 AITC Sponsors
Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians
Wild Horse Pass
Silver Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors
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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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