AIANTA/USFS NATIVE Act Request for Proposals for FY 2024

June 10, 2024; 10 a.m. (Mountain)

AIANTA and the U.S. Forest Service will host an informational webinar regarding the Request for Proposals for NATIVE Act Tribal Projects and Initiatives on or Adjacent to U.S. Forest Service Managed Lands for FY 2024. The webinar will include a panel of past grantees and a question and answer session specific to types of projects, timelines, the application process and implementation. Register now to secure your spot!


Toby Bloom – National Program Manager – Travel, Tourism and Interpretation, USDA Forest Service
Toby Bloom is the Forest Service National Program Manager for Tourism and Interpretation. Her portfolio includes strengthening recreation economies in forest gateway communities; working with Tribes to promote authentic interpretation and responsible visitation to native heritage sites; innovative public lands and health partnerships; the National Forest Explorer Mobile App; and working with Interpretive Associations to improve visitor experience on the National Forests. Toby believes in nature as a key aspect of a healthy life, and was the first Forest Service employee to become a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide in January 2019. As a Program Specialist for FS International Programs, and before joining FS, she worked with local communities to develop ecotourism projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Toby started her career in tourism and interpretation as a tour guide through the US, Canada, and Mexico. Her master’s degree is in Sustainable International Development with a focus on ecotourism from Brandeis University.

April G.L. Counceller, PhD – Executive Director, Alutiiq Museum
April is an Alutiiq tribal member who grew up in Larsen Bay and Kodiak, Alaska. She began work at the Alutiiq Museum as a college intern. She is one of the first people in her generation to gain fluency in Alutiiq. After college, she led the museum’s education and language departments, working to preserve, document and teach the Alutiiq language. April earned her Ph.D. from the University of Alaska in 2010 and then developed the Alutiiq Studies Program at Kodiak College as an assistant professor. She returned to the museum as executive director in 2015.

Luke Strong-Cvetich – Tribal Planning Director, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
Luke is a staff member for the Tribe and not a Jamestown Tribal citizen or member of any other Tribe. Luke helps oversee the Tribe’s land use planning strategies, transportation program, Office of Tribal Historic Preservation, and library programing. Luke leads the Tribe’s planning efforts to facilitate future development on Tribal lands and he works hard to maintain relations with federal, state, and local agencies/organizations to protect and advance the Tribe’s interests. Luke recently helped with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library expansion project which included new cultural exhibit space and he is excited to be helping out with more interpretive projects, like the Outdoor Exhibits Interpreting Interconnections between S’Klallam Cultural Traditions and Olympic National Forest’s Dungeness Watershed project that received support from AIANTA. Luke lives in Port Angeles, WA and enjoys spending time outdoors in the Olympic Mountains and on Pacific Northwest Coast.

Moderator: Sherry L. Rupert – CEO, AIANTA
Sherry L. Rupert, Paiute and Washoe Tribes of Nevada, is the CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) with two decades of executive-level experience managing and promoting Indigenous tourism. She has dedicated her career to advancing cultural heritage storytelling for Native Nations and communities across the U.S. by helping these communities realize the economic development potential and significance of preserving generational stories well into the future.