October 2021
What's New at AIANTA?
CEO Sherry L. Rupert Preparing Awards for the Conference
O me'a"kwa
(I’m going to travel over there, Northern Paiute)

Reimagine, Re-emerge, Reunite

I am very excited to remind you that we are just 10 days away from the opening of our 23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC), which begins on October 25 in Fort McDowell, Arizona.

It is hard to believe it has been more than a year since the launch of our first-ever virtual conference and more than two years since we’ve all had a chance to connect in person. For those of you joining us in Arizona, we are so excited to be able to share some time together. And, for those of you yet unable to travel we look forward to seeing you next year.
AITC COVID-19 Mitigation Plan
In efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep AITC attendees safe, AIANTA is requiring all attendees, staff and volunteers have proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving to the conference.

Photo from Pixabay.com
Town Hall Series Session Three Report
AIANTA CEO, Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe) introduced guests Jamie Lee Marks, Director of Tribal and National Partnerships and Dr. Megan Springate, Director of Engagement from the America250 Foundation and Ben Lawhon, Senior Director of Research and Consulting from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to discuss new initiatives and opportunities beginning in FY 2022. A video and full summary report of the September 29, 2021 Town Hall Session can be found online at the AIANTA Town Hall Series

Five Ways to Make the Most of Your AITC Experience
​As the tourism industry slowly returns to “normal,” hospitality providers are asking, “what’s next.” There is no master roadmap for recovery, especially when it comes to indigenous tourism providers. 

Attending this year’s American Indian Tourism Conference might be the best way to move forward with your own programming. The connections you make, especially with people who are facing the same hurdles as you, could provide the very answers you are looking for. 

Ready to join us? Here are a few things to keep in mind before, during and after AITC, so you can get the most out of your conference experience. 

Board President Emerson Vallo, Alaska Region Rep. Rachel Moreno and CEO Sherry L. Rupert
AIANTA Announces Board Slate
AIANTA's Board Nominating Committee has selected the following Board Slate for this year’s elections:

Oklahoma - Travis Owens
Great Basin - Brian Wadsworth
Southern California - Kate Anderson
Central Plains - Judi Gaiashkibos
Northwest - Jamie Sijohn
Rocky Mountain - Darian Morsette

*The Pacific Northwest, Central California and Northeast regions are still vacant.

America250 Advisory Council
CEO Sherry L. Rupert and AIANTA Board Member Travis Owens have been selected to participate on the Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Council for the America250 Foundation.

The nationwide commemoration of America’s 250th anniversary in 2026 led by the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, has established 11 Advisory Councils across a variety of industries and specialties to increase inclusiveness, expand America250’s capacity and connection to partners and stakeholders and facilitate program development, implementation and social impact.

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.

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 major activities, events or commemorations for 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.

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 Webinar Series
Photo credit: Akwesasne.travel
AIANTA's Webinar Series presents marketing tips, funding opportunities and other tips for creating and growing successful tribal tourism enterprises.
American Indian Tourism Conference
American Indian Tourism Conference
October 25-28, 2021
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort
Fort McDowell (Scottsdale), Arizona
AIANTA Charity Golf Tournament
AIANTA will be holding its Charity Golf Tournament at the We-Ko-Pa Golf Cub on October 24, 2021. This event is being held in advance of AITC.

Participation in this golf tournament provides you with the exclusive opportunity to play golf on one of We-Ko-Pa’s award-winning courses, considered “one of the best golf experiences in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area,” while networking with the top Native American tourism professionals around the country.

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 Enterprises
Ribbon Skirt by Lola Wipert
AITC Silent Auction
AITC 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.

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.

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
Iksiks Washana’lama” (Little Swans Dancers)
The Yakama Nation’s Iksiks Washana’lama, or “Little Swans,” is a collective of girls and young women brought together by the culture, history and language of their Tribe through oral interpretations of songs and dance. The group learns traditional songs, dance and stories that have been passed down to them by their elders and ancestors. Their performances include the traditional Swan Dance as well as other songs and dances.

The Little Swans have appeared at many locations throughout Washington State and Northwest, including the Yakima Valley Museum, Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center. They have also performed their dances nationally and for national conferences.

Frog Bay Tribal National Park
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa puts special emphasis on the sustainable management of natural resources both on the Reservation and in the Chippewa ceded territories, and for the overall protection of Lake Superior. FBTNP and the Frog Bay Conservation Management Area (CMA) celebrates the cultural importance of water and the spirituality that is associated with Lake Superior.

The rare boreal forest ecotype, coastal wetlands and undeveloped sand beach is an unequaled wilderness experience on the Bayfield Peninsula. In total, FBTNP and CMA protects 300 acres, consisting of: a large tract of at-risk boreal forest, over a mile of riparian corridor, nearly 120 acres of wetlands and freshwater estuary habitat, and almost 4,000 feet of undeveloped Lake Superior shoreline.

In the News
AIANTA in the News

The Wrap: Oak Flat’s Spiritual Convoy
Indian Country Today; October 13, 2021
Patuk Glenn, Inupiaq, was named a conference keynote speaker by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

Indigenous Tourism Forms a Long Overdue Americas Collaborative to Boost Opportunities
Skift; October 11, 2021
Sherry Rupert, CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) preferred to emphasize the opportunity to play a role in transforming the industry’s approach to tribe led tourism.

“I’m sure you would agree that when I say our Native American, First Nations, Metis, Intuit, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and native pueblos of South America are already too frequently lumped into one master group loosely defined as Indigenous,” Rupert said. “While I appreciate the ideals of creating a collaborative community, I’m especially excited about networking with the group’s leadership to better define ways we can all celebrate our uniqueness.”

Tribal Program in Grand Canyon to Elevate Native Perspectives
Navajo-Hopi Observer; October 5, 2021
According to the park, the development of the site plan is an ongoing cooperative effort between the NPS and a number of partners, including representatives from the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Zuni and Yavapai-Apache tribes, Grand Canyon Association, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs and park concessionaires.

AIANTA Membership
Welcome New AIANTA Members

Nevada Division of Tourism (Nonprofit-Great Basin)
Brian H. Wadsworth, Three Nations Management Corporation (Individual-Great Basin)
Leroy Begay (Senior-Southwest)
Lee V. Bigwater (Senior-Southwest)
Kevin Horace-Quannie, Waterbird Studio (Senior-Southwest)
Charlene Johnson, Southwest Indian Jewelry (Senior-Southwest)
Wendell W. Sakiestewa, WinSaks Designs (Senior-Southern California)
Louise Shortman (Senior-Southwest)
Diane Tully (Senior-Southwest)
Annette Ulmer, Monster Vision Media (Senior-Alaska)

Citizen Potawatomi Nation (Tribe-Oklahoma)

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 Amazon.com

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