AITC Keynote Speeches

How Indigenous Tourism is Reshaping Tourism in Canada
Tuesday, Sept. 17; 11:45 a.m.

Keith Henry (Metis), President & CEO
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Authentically Cultivating Cultural Tourism
Wednesday, Sept. 18; 11:45 a.m.

Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

AITC Speakers


Nina Alexander

Alan Atkinson

Gail Chehak
(Klamath Tribes)

Travis Hall

Julie Heizer

Linley Logan
(Seneca Nation of Indians)

Dawn Melvin
(Navajo Nation)

George Rivera
(Pueblo of Pojoaque)

Jarica Walsh
(Osage Nation)

Angela West

AITC Speaker Bios

Nina Alexander
Director of Federal Information Resources
Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
Department of the Interior

Nina provides education and outreach to Native American communities in the Western United States, providing business skills and marketing workshops for Native American artists, including seminars for Native American organizations, businesses selling Native American arts and crafts, and the artists themselves to ensure that the authenticity of the art is maintained. She works with local, state and federal law enforcement to protect the authenticity of Native American arts and crafts. She attends major Native American juried arts and crafts markets and has helped develop new markets for exhibiting and selling Native American arts and crafts. She works with major markets to support their efforts to expand and bring the culture and history of Native Americans to the general public.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Nina Alexander
Director of Federal Information Resources
Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
Department of the Interior

Nina provides education and outreach to Native American communities in the Western United States, providing business skills and marketing workshops for Native American artists, including seminars for Native American organizations, businesses selling Native American arts and crafts, and the artists themselves to ensure that the authenticity of the art is maintained. She works with local, state and federal law enforcement to protect the authenticity of Native American arts and crafts. She attends major Native American juried arts and crafts markets and has helped develop new markets for exhibiting and selling Native American arts and crafts. She works with major markets to support their efforts to expand and bring the culture and history of Native Americans to the general public.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Nina Alexander
Director of Federal Information Resources
Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, Department of the Interior

For the last 12 years, Nina has also worked with the Department’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Nina provides education and outreach to the Native American communities in the Western United States, providing business skills and marketing workshops for Native American artists including seminars for Native American organizations, businesses selling Native American arts and crafts, and the artists themselves to ensure that the authenticity of the art is maintained. Nina works with local, state and federal law enforcement to protect the authenticity of Native American arts and crafts. She attends major Native American juried arts and crafts markets and has helped develop new markets for exhibiting and selling Native American arts and crafts. She works with major markets to support their efforts to expand and bring the culture and history of Native Americans to the general public.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Alan Atkinson, Director of Visual Arts and Capitol Collections
Oklahoma Arts Council

Prior to joining the Oklahoma Arts Council, Alan was curator of the National Weather Center Biennale, and he served as an adjunct curator of photography and Asian art at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma. As Director of Visual Arts and Capitol Collections, Atkinson oversees the acquisition, display, and preservation of the Oklahoma State Art Collection and the Oklahoma Capitol Art Collection. He also manages the Oklahoma Art in Public Places program, overseeing the Oklahoma Public Art Collection. Alan received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video Studies from the University of Oklahoma where he also studied printmaking. He holds a Master of Arts in History of Art and a Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Kansas.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Gail E. Chehak (Klamath Tribes), Membership & Outreach Coordinator, AIANTA

She has worked with tribal arts, tourism, economic development and environmental protection for the National Congress of American Indians, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Indian Arts & Crafts Association. While Arts & Tourism Coordinator for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Gail co-authored Native Peoples of the NW: A Traveler’s Guide to Land, Art & Culture. She was the Oregon Governor’s Delegate to the Washington, D.C. White House Conference on Travel & Tourism in 1995.

She worked with the Tribal Sovereignty Project to coordinate workshops for Oregon Tribes and served on the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation as a Board Member and President. She served on grant review panels for the Administration for Native Americans; AmeriCorps; National Parks Service Historic Preservation Fund; Department of Education, Library Services Special Programs to Indian Tribes; and Indian Health Service Scholarships.

Travis Hall, freelance photographer

Travis a freelance commercial photographer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He specializes in commercial, advertising, architectural and fine art photography. Travis’s background in art and manufacturing lends him a unique perspective in a variety of fields within the landscape of photography. Travis works both locally and nationwide with large corporations, small businesses, advertising agencies, production companies, publications, nonprofits, families, couples, and individuals. He sells his fine art work at art exhibits, local galleries and directly through this website.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Julie P. Heizer, Deputy Director Industry Relations
National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce

Julie Heizer rejoined the U.S. Department of Commerce in September 2003 as Deputy Director, Industry Relations for the National Travel and Tourism Office (formerly Office of Travel and Tourism Industries). She is responsible for industry outreach, partnerships, and strategic alliances for travel and tourism-related Commerce projects, and serves as the staff liaison for Brand USA.For six years prior to that, she was Director, and then Vice President, of Tourism for the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation (now Destination DC). Julie has also served as Assistant Director of Development for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, as well as the United States Travel and Tourism Administration, a former agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director for the Virginia Peninsula Tourism and Conference Bureau and the Montgomery County, Maryland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Julie loves travel, the theatre, good books, good movies, and good jokes – not necessarily in that order.

Julie P. Heizer, Deputy Director Industry Relations
National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce

Julie Heizer rejoined the U.S. Department of Commerce in September 2003 as Deputy Director, Industry Relations for the National Travel and Tourism Office (formerly Office of Travel and Tourism Industries). She is responsible for industry outreach, partnerships, and strategic alliances for travel and tourism-related Commerce projects, and serves as the staff liaison for Brand USA.For six years prior to that, she was Director, and then Vice President, of Tourism for the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation (now Destination DC). Julie has also served as Assistant Director of Development for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, as well as the United States Travel and Tourism Administration, a former agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director for the Virginia Peninsula Tourism and Conference Bureau and the Montgomery County, Maryland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Julie loves travel, the theatre, good books, good movies, and good jokes – not necessarily in that order.

Julie P. Heizer
Deputy Director Industry Relations
National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce

Julie Heizer rejoined the U.S. Department of Commerce in September 2003 as Deputy Director, Industry Relations for the National Travel and Tourism Office (formerly Office of Travel and Tourism Industries). She is responsible for industry outreach, partnerships, and strategic alliances for travel and tourism-related Commerce projects, and serves as the staff liaison for Brand USA.For six years prior to that, she was Director, and then Vice President, of Tourism for the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation (now Destination DC). Julie has also served as Assistant Director of Development for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, as well as the United States Travel and Tourism Administration, a former agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director for the Virginia Peninsula Tourism and Conference Bureau and the Montgomery County, Maryland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Julie loves travel, the theatre, good books, good movies, and good jokes – not necessarily in that order.

Linley Logan (Seneca Nation of Indians), Director of the Northwest Heritage Program
Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, Evergreen State College

Linley is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist/designer and art consultant. He has attended four International Indigenous Arts Exchanges, curates contemporary Native American art exhibits, and serves on local arts boards. Linley’s employment experience includes the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American, and teaching printmaking at Hawaiian Ohana for Education in the Arts, Hawaii. Linley has served on grant review panels for the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, First Peoples Fund, Ford Foundation – Leveraging Investments in Creativity, NEA – Folk and Traditional Arts, All Roads Film program, and the National Geographic Society.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Dawn Melvin
Tribal Tourism Relations Manager
Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT)

Dawn has been he Tribal Tourism Relations Manager for AOT since March 2004 and is the primary contact for all matters relating to AOT’s work with Indian Nations and Tribes. She leads the agency’s efforts to enhance, cultivate and grow tourism development and marketing programs for American Indian communities throughout Arizona. Serving as the agency’s Tribal liaison, she collaborates with tribal tourism leaders to promote tribal tourism attractions in domestic and international visitor markets.

Dawn is involved with several industry-related organizations including the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association (AAITA) and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA). She is a member of Valley Leadership, Class XXIV and is a recipient of the 2018 Arizona American Indian Excellency in Leadership Woman of the Year award from the Phoenix Indian Center, the 2015 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award presented by the Center for the Future of Arizona and the Excellence in Customer Service award presented by AIANTA.

Dawn is a citizen of the Navajo Nation born for the Coyote Pass Clan and is Hopi/Tewa from the Roadrunner Clan.

George Rivera (Pueblo of Pojoaque), artist and former Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque

George served his Pueblo in Norhern New Meixco for 12 years as Lt. Governor and then 10 years as Governor. George has also been sculpting and teaching art for more than 30 years. His work centers primarily on monumental stone and bronze sculpture, painting and architectural design and the driving force behind all of his creations is the Native American Pueblo culture. His monumental creations on display at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, include a bronze Buffalo Dancer, Deer Dancer and Butterfly Dancer. Under his leadership, the governor helped develop businesses and services for the small community, including the Poeh Cultural Center and Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. He is responsible for the architectural style and aesthetics of this outstanding resort which is known for its impressive design and art collection valued at more than two million dollars. The Poeh Center has become an important resource for Pueblo people to learn the arts and culture of their ancestors.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

George Rivera (Pueblo of Pojoaque), artist and former Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque

George served his Pueblo in Norhern New Meixco for 12 years as Lt. Governor and then 10 years as Governor. George has also been sculpting and teaching art for more than 30 years. His work centers primarily on monumental stone and bronze sculpture, painting and architectural design and the driving force behind all of his creations is the Native American Pueblo culture. His monumental creations on display at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, include a bronze Buffalo Dancer, Deer Dancer and Butterfly Dancer. Under his leadership, the governor helped develop businesses and services for the small community, including the Poeh Cultural Center and Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. He is responsible for the architectural style and aesthetics of this outstanding resort which is known for its impressive design and art collection valued at more than two million dollars. The Poeh Center has become an important resource for Pueblo people to learn the arts and culture of their ancestors.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

George Rivera (Pueblo of Pojoaque)
Artist and former Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque

George served his Pueblo in Norhern New Meixco for 12 years as Lt. Governor and then 10 years as Governor. George has also been sculpting and teaching art for more than 30 years. His work centers primarily on monumental stone and bronze sculpture, painting and architectural design and the driving force behind all of his creations is the Native American Pueblo culture. His monumental creations on display at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, include a bronze Buffalo Dancer, Deer Dancer and Butterfly Dancer. Under his leadership, the governor helped develop businesses and services for the small community, including the Poeh Cultural Center and Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. He is responsible for the architectural style and aesthetics of this outstanding resort which is known for its impressive design and art collection valued at more than two million dollars. The Poeh Center has become an important resource for Pueblo people to learn the arts and culture of their ancestors.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Jarica Walsh (Osage Nation)
Director of Art in Public Places
Oklahoma Arts Council

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts with an emphasis in Filmmaking. Prior to the Oklahoma Arts Council, she served as Associate Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, where she managed the Artist Survival Kit professional development series and the Artist Grants and Fellowship programs. She also directed events and programs such as the Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship. Walsh is an active visual artist working primarily in ceramics and maintains a studio in the Paseo Arts District. Walsh was born in Pawhuska and is a member of the Osage Nation.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.

Angela WestAngela West
National Director Tourism & Community Service
Bureau of Land Management

 

NativeAmerica.Travel

NativeAmerica.travel is AIANTA’s premier destination website, connecting travelers to unique American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian destinations in the United States. Start marketing your destination with us today!

Learn Much More

Education & Training

Technical assistance and training is the heartbeat of our work at AIANTA. We provide general and tailored technical assistance, training and education in a variety of ways.

Learn More

International Outreach

AIANTA plays a critical role in supporting the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to bring more visitors to the United States, especially in our participation at trade shows internationally and domestically, to promote tourism in Indian Country.

Learn More

Membership

Through AIANTA membership, tribes, the tourism industry and other partners form a dynamic network of shared experiences, resources and support.

Learn More