AITC Keynote Speeches

How U.S. Travel Works to
Elevate the Entire Travel Industry

Tuesday, Sept. 17; 11:45 a.m.

Roger Dow, President & CEO
U.S. Travel Association

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

Empowering Tribal Nations to Build Sustainable Economies: The Role of Federal Policy
Tuesday, Sept. 18; 8 a.m.

Jefferson Keel, President
National Congress of American Indians

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

Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

 

Many Voices–Telling the Story of the USA Through Film
Thursday, Sept. 19; 11:45 a.m.

Nick Mattera, Brand USA
John Herrington (Chickasaw), Astronaut &
Ariel Tweto (Inupiat), TV Personality & Producer

AITC Speakers

Please click here to view all AITC 2019 speaker bios.

Nina Alexander


Kate Anderson
Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Alex Atkinson

Tracy Banfield

Anna Barrera

Martin Begaye
Martin Begaye
Navajo Nation


Loren BirdRattler
Blackfeet Nation

Toby Bloom

Toby Bloom

Tedd C. Buelow

Chris Carroll


Gail Chehak
Klamath Tribes


Linda K. Cooley
Yurok

Jordan Crahan


Kanoa Daines
Native Hawaiian


Apache Danforth
Oneida Nation

Kyle Dean, PhD

Chrystal Denys


Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard
Huron-Wendat


Whitney Dittman
Cherokee Nation)

Roger Dow

Camille Ferguson
Camille Ferguson
Tlingit


Dorothy Firecloud
Sicangu Lakota

Lisa Gassman
Lisa Gassman
Tlingit


Jeff L. Grubbe
Agua Caliente


Donovan Hanley
Navajo

Julie Heizer

Taiyagi Helton


Keith Henry
Métis


John Herrington
Chickasaw

Tony Hines

Janie Simms Hipp
Janie Simms Hipp
Chickasaw


Crystal Holtz
Oneida Nation


Jefferson Keel
Chickasaw

Anne Ketz

Marnie Leist

Marnie Leist


Linley Logan
Seneca Nation

Shawn Loring

Shawn Loring

Nick Mattera

Seleni Matus


Erin McDaniel
Choctaw


Dawn Melvin
Navajo/Hopi/Tewa

Demetri B. Morris (Red Cliff Band)
Demetri B. Morris
Red Cliff

Michael Ochs

Michael Ochs


Travis Owens
Cherokee


Jon D. Panamaroff
Alutiiq


Penny Peters
Saint Regis Mohawk


Levi R. Rickert
Prairie Band Potawatomi


George Rivera
Pueblo of Pojoaque

Sherry Rupert, Leadership Announcement
Sherry L. Rupert
Paiute/Washoe

Luisa Salomoni

Paige Williams Shepherd, Chickasaw Country

Paige Shepherd

Stacey Simmons
Stacey M. Simmons
Alutiiq


Ariel Tweto
Inupiat

Greg Takehara

Gabrielle R. VanBergen


Jarica Walsh
Osage Nation


Shoshana Wasserman
Thlopthlocco/Muscogee

Karen Wilde
Karen Wilde
Muscogee (Creek)/Pawnee

Daniel Wiley

Daniel Wiley

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.
Building Tribal Arts Programs; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 10:30 a.m.

Kate Anderson
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Director of Public Relations
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Kate Anderson is the Director of Public Relations for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. She is an enrolled tribal member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a federally recognized tribe with a Reservation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She has more than two decades of experience in journalism, photography, public relations, marketing and film.

As the Director of Public Relations, Ms. Anderson leads a team responsible for developing communication, educational and outreach to help advance community knowledge and understanding of the Tribe and its efforts. Her work includes publications, creating partnerships with organizations, digital and print marketing, social media, media outreach and special events.

She is curating a cultural tourism plan for the tribe and working with partners across the Coachella Valley region in Southern California to put Palm Springs on the map for cultural heritage tourism. Ms. Anderson also operates the Agua Caliente Film Office and serves as the liaison to all filmmakers and photographers.

Driving Tourism Through Cultural Centers; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:00 p.m.

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

As Director of Visual Arts and Capitol Collections, Alan 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.

Prior to joining the Oklahoma Arts Council, he 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). 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.

Tracy Banfield
Director of Sales & Hotel Operations
Tulalip Resort Casino

Tracy Banfield’s 26-year career in the hospitality industry started in 1994 as a Front Desk Agent, shortly after moving to Washington State from Montana. As her experience grew, so did her career. She expanded her tourism experience by working as Administrator of the (then) Everett Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, followed by Director of Development and Events for the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce. Tracy then moved on to the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau as the Group Sales & Media Manager before being hired in February of 2008 to open Tulalip Resort Casino. She has worked at Tulalip for nearly 12 years in the sales department with her current role as the Director of Sales and Hotel Operations for the resort.

Beat the Odds: Casinos Exploring Cultural Narratives; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Anna Barrera
Research Scholar
George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies

Anna Barrera is a Research Scholar at the George Washington University International Institute for Tourism Studies. She is also the founder of A2B Consulting, a consulting consortia specializing in sustainable tourism and hospitality services for both domestic and international clients.

As a sustainable tourism and hospitality consultant, Anna has professional experience in strategic planning, product development, marketing and capacity building. She has worked with public clients such as USAID and Mexico’s SECTUR on destination strategy and forging public-private partnerships. Anna also has extensive experience working with the private sector, from multinationals like Caesars Entertainment where she works on sustainability strategy, to small tour operators focusing on operations and visibility. She is currently supporting George Washington University’s tribal tourism projects in the Dakotas. 

Six-Steps to Honing Your Tribal Tourism Skills; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 4 p.m.

Martin BegayeMartin Begaye
Navajo
Department Director
Navajo Parks and Recreation Department

Member of the Navajo Nation, Salt Clan, born for Red Cheeks clan, Martin Begaye is originally from Chinle, AZ and now living in Fort Defiance, AZ. He started with the Navajo Nation after graduation from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Police Science and Administration. Martin worked with the National Park Service at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, which started his interest in parks. He has been with the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department for 17 years, seven of them as Director. The department has an annual budget of $8.5 million and over 70 employees in seven tribal parks.

Shared Stewardship: Re-claim Your Narrative by Co-Managing Public Lands; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 2:15 p.m.
Developing a Tribal National Park; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Loren BirdRattler
Blackfeet
Project Manager
Blackfeet Nation’s Agriculture Resource Management Plan

Loren BirdRattler currently serves as the Project Manager for the development of the Blackfeet Nation’s Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP), a plan that will create policy in agriculture, land, conservation, holistic management practices, water resource management, as well as agriculture and livestock regulation for both the Blackfeet Tribe and the United States governments. 

Loren was recently hired as the Endowed Chair for the Native Studies Department at Montana State University where he is working with the Native Studies Department to create an indigenous research initiative that will align Native-based research at the academy with Tribal government priorities.  

Loren has more than twenty years of public and private sector experience in organizational development, strategic planning, policy development, project management and civic engagement.  He is a former National Field Director for the Native Vote Initiative for the National Congress of American Indians and a Public Program Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.  He was also a program manager for the United States Department of Defenses’ Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program based in Arlington, Virginia, for Keres Consulting. He has served as the inaugural Executive Director for two non-profits, Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote both based in Billings, Montana.  

Loren has received the President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness from the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University and has been a guest lecturer for the Kennedy School of Government and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard. Most recently, Loren has presented at the National Forum for Large Landscape Conservation and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations, both on indigenous approaches to natural and agriculture resource management, conservation and climate adaptation.  

Loren grew up on his family’s ranch forty miles south of Browning on the traditional homelands of the Blackfeet Nation.

A Native Approach to Sustainable Tourism; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.
Developing a Tribal National Park; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Toby BloomToby Bloom
National Program Manager for Tourism and Interpretive Services
US Forest Service (USFS)

A native of the DC Metropolitan area, Toby Bloom is the National Program Manager for Tourism and Interpretive Services for the US Forest Service. Some of the current Forest Service initiatives she leads are the development of the National Forest Explorer Mobile App; strengthening recreation economies in forest gateway communities; working with Tribes to promote genuine interpretation and responsible visitation to native heritage sites on Forest Service- managed lands; promoting healthy people and forests through innovative public lands and public health partnerships; and working with Interpretive Associations to improve visitor experience and appreciation of the National Forests. 

Toby believes deeply in the necessity of nature as a key aspect of a healthy life, and became a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide in January of 2019.Toby started her tourism career as a tour guide through the US, Canada, and Mexico. Ms Bloom received her master’s degree in Sustainable International Development with a focus on ecotourism from Brandeis University.

Public Lands Success Stories; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.
From Camping to Bison Viewing to Forest Therapy, Identifying Opportunities in the Recreation Economy; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.

Tedd C. Buelow
Native American Coordinator
USDA Rural Development

Tedd Buelow is the Native American Coordinator for USDA Rural Development. In this role he works to increase access to RD’s programs for Tribe’s, Tribal members and organizations focused on improving the quality of life and economic opportunity throughout Indian Country and Alaska. Tedd returned to USDA from the Treasury Department in November of 2005. While at Treasury he worked for the CDFI Fund as an analyst with the Native American programs. Prior to that, he was a desk officer, serving the Northwest Region for USDA Rural Development’s Community Development Programs. Tedd began his federal career as a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in the Eastern High Atlas National Park in Morocco. He and his wife live in Colorado where they are raising their two sons.

From Camping to Bison Viewing to Forest Therapy, Identifying Opportunities in the Recreation Economy; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.

Chris Carroll
Program Officer and Podcast Host
Oklahoma Humanities

Chris joined the Oklahoma Humanities staff in August 2014, and is is also the host of Oklahoma Humanities’ BrainBox podcast, which uses humanities disciplines like history, literature, philosophy, ethics and cultural studies to explore current issues. He currently serves as a board member and secretary for the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System and he has written freelance pieces for Distinctly Oklahoma magazine, Info magazine, and NewsOK.com. 

Previously, Chris worked for Oklahoma County’s Metropolitan Library System for ten years, including seven years as the library’s Development Coordinator. He holds a B.A. in Humanities with an emphasis in history and literature from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.

Breaking Down the NATIVE Act; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 10:30 a.m.

​Gail Chehak
Klamath Tribes
Membership & Outreach Coordinator
AIANTA

Gail E. Chehak, a Klamath Tribal member, serves as AIANTA’s Membership & Outreach Coordinator. 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.

Digital Tools for 21st Century Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.
Welcome Centers on Tribal Lands; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.

Linda K. Cooley
Yurok Tribe
Assistant Director
Yurok Economic Development Corporation

Raised on the Yurok Reservation in Weitchpec, California, Linda Cooley is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a Degree in Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing. She has worked for a Native American Family Services, Local County Conservatorship and California State Parks and then went on to join the beer industry, eventually attaining the position of VP of Sales and Marketing for the first Organic Brewery, Eel River Brewing Company. She left that company to assist in opening the Hotel and Casino for the Yurok Tribe and planning future projects as the Visitor Center. 

She has also become a certified trainer for T-Mobile, which has assisted her in transferring knowledge to future generations of Tribal members in carrying on the growth and tourism industry we focus on. 

She’s currently the Assistant Director Of Yurok Economic Development Department and is charged with launching the Tribe’s Traditional Redwood Canoe Project and building a Marketing Team to assist in the growth. She is a proud Mother of two amazing girls that are delighted to be home and involved and her love for art and the outdoors fills up her free time.

Welcome Centers on Tribal Lands; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.

Jordan Crahan
Digital Marketer
Shank Marketing

Jordan Crahan is an experienced digital marketer, analyst, and strategist who has worked with tribes throughout the country. As the Client Services Manager at Shank Marketing, Jordan helps clients manage their brand footprints, develop their online reputation, and tell their stories in ways that deliver impactful performance.

Digital Tools for 21st Century Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Kainoa Daines
Native Hawaiian
Director of Culture & Product Development
Hawai’i Visitors & Convention Bureau

Kainoa was the Director of Sales for the Oʻahu Visitors Bureau, a subsidiary of the Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau since July 2011 and recently accepted the newly created Director of Culture & Product Development position with HVCB. In this new role, Kainoa oversees all Hawaiian cultural aspects within the Visitors Bureau, for Staff and Members. He is also currently a State Commissioner/Chair of the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission representing the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and has chaired the King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade since 2011.

Kainoa sits on the Board of the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Hawaiian Culture Advisory Council, former President of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association, Hawaiʻi Chapter and a member of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu. Hawaiʻi Business Magazine selected Kainoa as one of “20 For the Next 20” in 2011 and Pacific Business News included him in the prestigious “40 Under 40,” Class of 2018. Kainoa is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality from UNLV.

Give a New Voice to Your Marketing through Storytelling; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 2:15 p.m.
Amplifying Tribal Voices through Regional Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 8 a.m.​

Apache Danforth
Oneida Nation
Executive Director
Native American Tourism of Wisconsin

Apache Danforth (Yakowanahastu – “She speaks good words”) is of the wolf clan and from the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. She is the Tribal Tourism Development Director for Native American Tourism of
Wisconsin (NATOW), where she works for the 11 Sovereign Nations in Native Wisconsin to develop, market and promote their tourism initiatives.

Danforth holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational administration from UW-Milwaukee and a masters degree in public relations from Kent State University. She worked in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Communications as a PR Specialist for the Oneida Nation for 10 years. Her current board positions include the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Tourism and the Wisconsin American Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Apache is the proud mother of six children, and grandmother of two. She lives with her four youngest children on the Oneida Nation reservation.

Amplifying Tribal Voices through Regional Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 8 a.m.
Itinerary Building; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Kyle Dean, PhD
Director, Center for Native American and Urban Studies
Oklahoma City University

Dr. Kyle Dean is a professional economist and Associate Professor of Economics at Oklahoma City University. He also serves as the Director for the Center for Native American and Urban Studies and is the Associate Director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute at OCU. He is also the managing partner of Economic Impact Group, an economics consulting firm founded while earning his PhD in Economics at Oklahoma State University. He specializes in economic modeling, impact analysis, and regional, urban and public finance consulting.

Dr. Dean currently serves on the board for Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. He previously served on the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and participates in the American Indian Data Community of Practice (AIDCoP) for the Oklahoma Department of Health.

The Asterisk Nation: The Importance of Data Collection; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Chrystal Denys
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – U.S. Embassy London

Chrystal Denys is a Commercial Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service based in London, United Kingdom. Chrystal has helped U.S. travel suppliers to develop market strategies and to find partners (including international representation firms, tour operators, and travel media) since 2014.

Chrystal has been with Commercial Service UK since 2007, and her current industry portfolio includes all Service Sectors, which account for half of the UK’s balance of trade with the United States. Her main focuses within the service segment are Travel & Tourism, Education & Training, and Financial Services. In the past, she has covered the Aerospace and Defense, Apparel and Textiles, Consumer Goods, Franchising, and General Industrial portfolios.

Originally from New Jersey, Chrystal has lived in the UK since 2006. She holds a Master of Tourism Administration (MTA) and a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration (BBA), both from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Gold Key Tools for International Tourism Success; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard
Huron-Wendat
Director of Marketing
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.

After spending 10 years serving the Quebec Aboriginal tourism industry, first with Tourism Wendake and then with Quebec Aboriginal Tourism, Sebastien Desnoyers-Picard joined ITAC as the Sales and Marketing Manager and later moved to the role of Director of Marketing. Throughout his career, Sebastien has developed many strong partnerships and relationships with industry leaders across the globe. As a member of the Huron-Wendat Nation and a French speaking Indigenous person, Sebastien is a strong member of the ITAC marketing team working to achieve all the targets in the 5-year plan – A path forward.

Sebastien has a diploma in Business, a degree in Sales and Marketing, and has completed an Indigenous studies program at Laval University. Born and raised in Wendake where he still lives and works, Sebastien takes great pride in defending Indigenous interest throughout all aspects of his life and career and focuses on bringing solutions to bring communities and the Indigenous tourism industry forward.

Give a New Voice to Your Marketing through Storytelling; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 2:15 p.m.

Whitney Dittman
Cherokee Nation
Public Relations Specialist
Cherokee Nation Businesses

Whitney began working for Cherokee Nation Businesses in 2011 and has supported various internal and external clients with their public relations and communications goals throughout her years of service. Currently, she promotes the Tribe’s thriving cultural tourism efforts, which includes five museums, two welcome centers, various retail operations and more. She also supports one of the largest Native American Art Shows in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Art Market; the Nanyehi musical and short film; and nonprofit clients, including the Cherokee Nation Education Foundation and the Cherokee Heritage Center. Whitney is a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University, where she double majored in public relations and broadcast journalism with a minor in marketing.

Got Press? How to Pitch Media Like a Pro; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 4 p.m.

Roger Dow
President and CEO
U.S. Travel Association

Roger Dow is president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the Washington, D.C.-based organization representing all segments of travel in America—an industry that generates $2.5 trillion in economic output and supports 15.7 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.

U.S. Travel advocates for policies that allow travel to thrive. Dow regularly meets with the executive branch and congressional leaders to discuss industry priorities, and his efforts have resulted in major legislative victories. He was instrumental in establishing Brand USA, the highly effective national travel and tourism promotion program.

For his work to unify the travel industry and increase its effectiveness on Capitol Hill, Dow is the recipient of multiple honors, including the 2018 MPI Industry Leader Award, Successful Meetings’ Most Influential People, and the 2008 TRENDS Association Executive of the Year.

Prior to joining U.S. Travel in 2005, Dow advanced through the ranks at Marriott International in a tenure spanning 34 years, where he rose to senior vice president of global and field sales. He has held seats on the boards of ASAE, ASAE Foundation, PCMA, MPI Foundation, GWSAE, the Travel Institute, RE/MAX International and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.

Dow served in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star and other citations. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University and was honored as a Most Distinguished Alumnus in 2012. In addition, he holds an honorary degree from Johnson & Wales University.

Keynote Speech: How U.S. Travel Works to Elevate the Entire Travel Industry; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 11:45 a.m.

Dorothy FireCloud
Sicangu Lakota Tribe
Superintendent
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument

Dorothy FireCloud, the Superintendent of the Montezuma Castle National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribe. She has a Juris Doctorate from the New Mexico School of Law and has been a member of the New Mexico State Bar since 1991.

She joined the federal government in 1992 as a Water Rights Specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Phoenix. From 1996 to 1998, she worked for the Pueblo of Zuni (IPA) developing their water rights program. She transferred to the US Forest Service in 1998 as the SW Tribal Program Manager. She served as Team Leader of the National Team on Tribal Relations which developed an extensive report and recommendations providing guidance to fulfilling the FS trust responsibilities. Several critical items were passed in the 2008 Farm bill (i.e., temporary closures of Forest Service lands for tribal cultural activities), P.L. 110-246, June 8, 2008, Title VIII, Subtitle B.

She served as acting District Ranger in Hoonah, Alaska, Tongass National Forest and acting Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Black Hills National Forest. In June, 2006 she moved to the National Park Service as the Superintendent, Devils Tower National Monument. She transferred to become Superintendent, Montezuma Castle National Monument, subunit, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot National Monument, in the Camp Verde, AZ area in 2012

She served as an NPS representative on the Department of Interior, Government to Government Team, which was responsible for developing the DOI national consultation policy signed by Secretary Salazar in November, 2011.

Ms. FireCloud recently received the Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism, George Washington University, School of Business. The certificate program was developed by the George Washington University in partnership with AIANTA.

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

Camille L. Ferguson
|Tlingit
Director of Economic Development
Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Camille L. Ferguson is the Economic Development Director for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, where she is responsible for developing new projects as well as overseeing the Tribes’ tourism programs, gaming operations, the Tribal tannery and the Community House Convention Facility.

Ferguson, a citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a member of the Kiksadi Clan serves on the National Advisory Committee on Transportation Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI) and was recently elected to the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors, and the At-Large representative on AIANTA. She has 30 years of tribal tourism development experience in variance capacities from customer service, tourism development and administration.

The Importance of Customer Service in Cultural Tourism Development; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Lisa GassmanLisa Gassman
Tlingit
General Manager
Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Alicia “Lisa” Gassman, tlingit name Skadul.aat, is Teikweidi (Eagle/Bear) originating from the Xoots Valley Hit in the Angoon area. Lisa’s parents are Al & Pauline (Kookesh) Duncan. Her grandparents are Matthew and Ramona Kookesh (maternal) and Pete and Emma Duncan (paternal). She is child of Kiksadi (Raven/Frog). Lisa is a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where she received her Bachelor of Arts with a Political Science major. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with her Juris Doctorate degree in 1997. She worked at Sitka Tribe of Alaska from 1999-2011 as the General Manager and during that time the cultural tourism programs experienced a tremendous amount of growth due to her support of STE Director Camille Ferguson. She worked for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) from 2011-2016 and returned to Sitka Tribe as the General Manager again in 2016.

Shared Stewardship: Re-claim Your Narrative by Co-Managing Public Lands; Monday, Sept. 16; 2:15 p.m.

Jeff L. Grubbe
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Tribal Chairman
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Jeff L. Grubbe serves as Tribal Chairman for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. With his election in 2006 to the Tribal Council, Chairman Grubbe continues a legacy of service and follows in his grandfather Lawrence Pierce’s footsteps, who also once served on the Tribal Council. Grubbe was appointed as Chairman in 2012 and won election to the seat later that same year. Prior to his service on the Tribal Council, Grubbe worked as a data entry clerk in the Trust Enforcement Support Activities (TESA) department for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

His work for the Tribe has spanned many years. In 1999, Mr. Grubbe entered the Agua Caliente Resort and Spa tribal intern program where he worked in the casino as a table games shift manager. His experience eventually led to his involvement in other Tribal service including the Agua Caliente Child Development Committee, the Agua Caliente Election Board, the Gaming Commission, and the Tribal Building Committee. Chairman Grubbe later joined the Agua Caliente Development Authority (ACDA) and has been involved with the authority since 2003. He continues to serve as the Tribal Council Liaison. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments.

Chairman Grubbe is also involved in various organizations across Indian Country including service to the following boards: Nike N7, Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, National Indian Gaming Association and the National Congress of American Indians. In addition, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Chairman Grubbe was recognized with a 40 Under 40 Award from The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In addition, he was also recognized by Palm Springs Life Magazine with a 40 Under 40 Award for distinguished young professionals contributing to the success of the Coachella Valley.

Grubbe earned his bachelor degree in Information Systems from the University of Redlands. He also has an associate arts degree from Haskell Indian Nations University.

Keynote Speech: Authentically Cultivating Cultural Tourism; Wednesday, Sept. 17; 11:45 a.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.

Why Overseas Tourism Matters to Indian Country; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 10:30 a.m.

Taiawagi Helton
Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law

Taiawagi Helton is the W. DeVier Pierson Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he teaches courses in the areas of environmental law, property law, and Indian law, including Native American Natural Resources, Federal Indian Law, and Religion, Culture and Indian Law. His research emphasizes environmental and natural resources issues relating to Native Americans, as well as nation building in Indian country. Helton began his legal career as a clerk for the Honorable Robert H. Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Helton received his Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School after graduating with highest honors from the University of Tulsa College of Law. In 2012, he was awarded the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching, the highest teaching award at the University of Oklahoma.

Protecting Tribal Sovereignty Through Contracts; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Keith Henry
Métis
President and CEO
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada, and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henry began his career in 1995 with teaching positions and has become well known for his strategic administrative and negotiations skills. Since 1998 Mr. Henry has led numerous provincial, federal and industry negotiations on a variety of issues. He has been directly responsible for financial administration of a number of Aboriginal non-profits and has a proven track record of success. 

Mr. Henry has become an international Indigenous cultural tourism leader, receiving Aboriginal/Indigenous recognition as the former CEO for Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). In April 2014, the inaugural World Indigenous Tourism Alliance award recognized the work of AtBC and Mr. Henry’s leadership. Mr. Henry has been spearheading the growth of authentic Indigenous tourism in Canada as he worked to redevelop the national Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada as elected chair when this organization incorporated in April 2015. In October 2015 Mr. Henry took the full-time role as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s CEO. 

In Canada, Mr. Henry continues to be recognized across the country as one of the leaders in Indigenous tourism and has led many new initiatives including a national tourism strategy entitled, cruise industry opportunities and the national Aboriginal tourism research project on the economic value of Indigenous cultural tourism. Mr. Henry was instrumental in the development of the national Indigenous tourism strategy “The Path Forward 2016-2021” which focuses on increasing Aboriginal market readiness, creating jobs and increasing revenue. 

Mr. Henry volunteers time in the Aboriginal community and maintains several board positions including the former President of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business, former chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, current Chair for the Native Education College, member of the Minister’s Council on Tourism, former member of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Aboriginal Opportunities Committee, member of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, member of the International Marketing Committee Destination Canada member and current President of the BC Métis Federation.

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

John Herrington
Chickasaw Nation
Astronaut

John Herrington is a retired NASA astronaut and U.S. Naval Aviator. As a member of the Chickasaw Nation, he is the first Native American to fly into space. He served as a mission specialist for the 16th Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station where he performed three spacewalks totaling nearly 20 hours. He is also an inductee to the International Air and Space Hall of Fame and author of the children’s book “Mission to Space.”

Many Voices – Telling the Story of the USA Through Film; Thursday, Sept. 19; 11:45 a.m.

Janie Simms HippJanie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M.
Chickasaw
CEO
Native American Agriculture Fund

Before serving as CEO of NAAF, Janie Simms Hipp was the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas. Prior to that, she served as national program leader for Farm Financial Management, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Risk Management Education, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development programs at the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture. 

She was thereafter selected as the senior advisor for tribal relations to Secretary Tom Vilsack and director of the Office of Tribal Relations. Prior to her work in Washington, D.C., at the national level, she has enjoyed a lengthy domestic and international career spanning more than 35 years in the agriculture sector as an agriculture and food lawyer and policy expert. Her work focuses on the complex intersection of Indian law and agriculture and food law.

Tribal Agritourism Development; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 4 p.m.

Tony Hines
Creative Director
BHW1 Advertising

Tony Hines has been a technogeek, novelist, entrepreneur, filmmaker, and advertising agency owner/principal throughout a 20-year career, working with clients such as Sun Valley Resort, Kwataqnuk Resort & Casino, Coeur d’Alene Resort Casino, Circling Raven Golf Course, Angel of the Winds Casino, and many other tourism-driven businesses. Tony is a proven resource to many successful tourism campaigns that have garnered a variety of industry awards and recognitions including a perfect 3 – 0 record in his air guitar competitions.

Digital Tools for 21st Century Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Crystal Holtz
Oneida Nation
Sales Manager
Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Green Bay.

Crystal is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. The Oneida Nation has over 16,000 enrolled members globally. Crystal brings over 18 years of experience to the Tourism industry. Prior to moving to Miami, FL she was the Advertising Director for the Oneida Nation’s Tourism Department, the first tribal tourism department in the US. She was responsible for negotiating the first Tribal contract with the NFL. They currently have their own gate – the “Oneida Nation Gate” at historic Lambeau Field – home of the Green Bay Packers. The Oneida Nation presently have their exclusive Oneida Nation tours through their Tourism Department and will tailor these to the visitors’ needs.

The Oneida Nation has a vast array of tourism initiatives including, the Oneida Nation Museum, Tsyunkehkwa (a holistic retail entity), a Buffalo Farm as well as an Oneida Cultural Heritage Department. They also have a Business Development Unit which operates their One Stop Convenience Centers and gas stations throughout the reservation.

After moving home in 2013 Crystal currently is a Sales Manager at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Green Bay. Her markets include Tribal, Association and Government. Crystal holds a Bachelor’s degree is in Management and Communication and has a Master’s in Management and Organizational Behavior. She has previously served on the Native American Tourism of Wisconsin as well as the Green Bay Children’s Museum Board.

Itinerary Building; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Jefferson Keel
Chickasaw
President
National Congress of American Indians

Jefferson Keel serves as the 22nd President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. President Keel was elected on October 2017 at NCAI’s 74th Annual Convention to serve a third nonconsecutive term as President of NCAI.

As a proud Native American, President Keel is firmly committed to the service of Indian Country. Serving his fifth term as the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma he is keenly aware of the roles and responsibilities expected of tribal leaders and earnestly believes in the policy of “helping our people through honorable public service.”

President Keel also represents Indian Country on numerous national boards and committees including serving on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Native American Youth, created by former Senator Dorgan at the Aspen Institute. In addition, he was appointed as one of nine commissioners to serve on Tribal Law and Order Commission established under the Tribal Law and Order Act in 2010.

President Keel has previously served as Chair of the Tribal Interior Budget Committee, on the Indian Health Service Policy Advisory Committee, the Centers for Disease Control Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee, the Self-Governance Advisory Committee, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee, the Health Research Advisory Council for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, and the Department of Justice Tribal Advisory Group.

President Keel is a retired U.S. Army officer with more than 20 years active duty service. He served three years of service in Vietnam, and received numerous awards and decorations for heroism, including two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with “V” for valor. He is a former Airborne Ranger, infantry platoon sergeant, platoon leader, and served as an instructor in the elite U.S. Army Rangers.

President Keel earned his Bachelor’s degree from East Central University and Master’s degree from Troy State University. He is a Master Mason and a member of the East Central University Board of Directors. He is active in his church and community. President Keel and his wife, Carol, have three children and eight grandchildren.

Empowering Tribal Nations to Build Sustainable Economies: The Role of Federal Policy; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 8 a.m.

Anne Ketz
CEO & Services Director
106 Group

Anne’s career in heritage management and planning extends over 30 years and three continents. Anne is Vice President for the International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation (ICIP) for ICOMOS and an Expert Member of the Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC). Since co-founding the 106 Group, she has worked with a broad range of stakeholders, including slave descendants, immigrants and Native Americans.

Strategic Planning for Cultural Tourism: A Process for Implementing Community and Economic Development; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 2:30 p.m.

Marnie LeistMarnie Leist
Director
Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center

Marnie Leist is a helper. She helps make visions become reality. At the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository in Alaska, she facilitated best practices advancing the museum’s accreditation. After completing community-driven publications, exhibits and collections care projects, she relocated to Oklahoma to join the Shawnee Tribe in 2018. She oversaw the opening of their new cultural center and encouraged inclusive programming. With guidance from the STCC Kid’s Committee, the cultural center is designing exhibits and programs as in-house, mobile and digital resources to serve Shawnee citizens

Driving Tourism Through Cultural Centers; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

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

Linley Logan 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 Indian, 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, National Endowment for the Arts-Folk and Traditional Arts, All Roads Film program, and the National Geographic Society.

The Business of Art; Monday, Sept. 16; 1 p.m.
Building Tribal Arts Programs; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 10:30 a.m

Shawn LoringShawn Loring
CEO/Attorney
Escapees RV Club

Shawn began his career in the financial services industry in 1994. He has held positions as a bond analyst for a prominent insurance company, as an account manager dealing with some of the largest banks in the world, and as an entrepreneur establishing and running a successful branch office with Securities America. He holds a bachelor of science in international economics, with an emphasis on Asia, from UCLA. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, in addition to English. Shawn received his law degree from Southwestern Law School, where he was on the Dean’s List. He is the former host of “Your Financial Fix” on KDOL 96.1 FM. Shawn is currently the CEO and Attorney for the Escapees RV Club.

Partnering with RV Clubs to Attract Road Warriors; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

​Nick Mattera
Senior Director of Consumer Marketing
Brand USA

Nick Mattera is senior director, consumer marketing for Brand USA, the nation’s destination marketing organization with the mission of increasing international visitation to the United States, fueling the nation’s economy, and enhancing the image of the USA worldwide.

Nick oversees consumer marketing and social media campaigns and content development for Brand USA. Prior to Joining Brand USA, Nick has spent more than eight years working in the travel and hospitality industry, most recently serving as director, digital and social media marketing at Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing in the UAE and Senior Director of Marketing at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

An avid adventurer, Nick has traveled to 32 countries worldwide and visited 34 states. He is on a quest to visit all 59 national parks in the United States.

Many Voices – Telling the Story of the USA Through Film; Thursday, Sept. 19; 11:45 a.m.

Seleni Matus
Executive Director, International Institute of Tourism Studies
George Washington University

Seleni Matus is the Executive Director ofthe George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies. She has worked with governments and private sector in tourism destinations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to develop and implement sustainable tourism plans and programs that have enhanced the quality of tourism offerings and have helped to ensure the long-term health of natural ecosystems. Seleni also has deep experience working with indigenous communities throughout the Americas to develop cultural heritage tourism. A native of Belize, she served as the country’s Director of Tourism where she oversaw the reorganization of the Belize Tourism Board in order to better meet the demands of a fiercely competitive global marketplace. She has co-authored several publications including Linking Communities, Tourism and Conservation: A Tourism Assessment Process and Indigenous People and the Travel Industry: Practical Global Guidelines to Good Practice.

Six-Steps to Honing Your Tribal Tourism Skills; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 4 p.m.

Erin McDaniel
Choctaw Nation
Director of Tourism and Choctaw Store
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Erin McDaniel is a proud Choctaw Tribal Member who works as the Director of Tourism and Choctaw Store for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. After graduating with her Bachelors degree in Business Management/Hospitality Management, Erin began working in Choctaw Nation’s newly developed tourism department. Erin continued to earn her Professional Certification in Sustainable Tourism from George Washington University and her MBA from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. During the department’s life span, it has also taken on the Choctaw Welcome Center, Headquarters Gift Shop and the Tribal Discount Partner Program.

Erin is passionate about seeing the communities in their region grow and creating partnerships that are sustainable for the tribe and their partners.

Public Lands Success Stories; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1 p.m.
Welcome Centers on Tribal Lands; Thursday, Sept. 19; 9 a.m.

Demetri B. Morris (Red Cliff Band)Demetri B. Morris
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Gaming Manager
Legendary Waters Resort & Casino

Demetri Morris has lived on the Red Cliff Reservation for most of his life. He started working in gaming in 1994 and then was hired at Legendary Waters eight years ago. He started attending Pow Wows and other cultural events when he was 13 years old, and after two years in sales at Legendary Waters, he created the Native American package for the resort. The package has been popular with non-Native customers and the resort has seen a consistent demand for group activities at the resort and also off-site.

Beat the Odds: Casinos Exploring Cultural Narratives; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Dawn Melvin
Navajo/Hopi/Tewa
Tribal Tourism Relations Manager
Arizona Office of Tourism

Dawn Melvin has been the Tribal Tourism Relations Manager for the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) since March 2004 and is the AOT’s 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.

Amplifying Tribal Voices through Regional Marketing; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 8 a.m.
The Strategy of Familiarization Tours; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 2:30 p.m.

Michael OchsMichael Ochs
Director of Government Affairs
RV Industry Association

A 35+ year veteran in Washington DC lobbying, Michael currently serves as Director of Government Affairs for the RV Industry Association. RVIA is the national trade association representing the diverse manufacturing businesses which build more than 98 percent of all RVs produced in the U.S., including motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, park model RVs and folding camping trailers.

Prior to coming to RVIA in 2012, Mike represented various associations and industries, including CPAs, infectious disease doctors, dietitians, court reporters, commodity brokerages and commercial real estate developers in their federal and state government relations efforts

Partnering with RV Clubs to Attract Road Warriors; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

Travis Owens
Cherokee Nation
Director, Cultural Tourism & Community Relations
Cherokee Nation Businesses

Travis currently oversees cultural tourism development and community relations for the Cherokee Nation Businesses. In his current role, Travis manages five museums, including the newly opened Cherokee National History Museum. Travis also manages the restoration of historic sites, interpretive planning, infrastructure development, site planning, cultural art, events, and marketing. While working for the Cherokee Nation, Travis has worked to develop restoration plans from multiple historic properties, managed the remodel of four gift shops, managed the development of five museums and is currently working on development plans for an additional historic property.

In his role, Travis also oversees corporate sponsorship and employee volunteerism for Cherokee Nation Businesses and its more than 6,000 employees.

Before joining Cherokee Nation Businesses in early 2008, Travis worked for the Cherokee Nation Commerce Department and primarily focused on rural community development through tourism, including agritourism, entrepreneurial development and Scenic Byway development. Travis holds a Bachelors of Business Administration with a specification in Tourism Management and Masters of Business Administration. Travis currently serves on the board of directors for Preservation Oklahoma and the American Indian Alaskan Native Tourism Association. Travis has also served on the board for Fab Lab Tulsa and the Tulsa Children’s Museum. In 2016, Travis was named one of Oklahoma Magazine’s 40 under 40.

AITC Opening Session; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

Jon D. Panamaroff
Alutiiq
CEO
Kodiak Brown Bear Center

Jon Panamaroff had the honor of being born on Kodiak and raised there & on the Kenai Peninsula. Prior to joining the corporate ranks, Jon worked as a commercial fisherman & logger throughout Alaska. He is an enrolled member of the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak and a Shareholder of Koniag, Inc. On top of his work at the KBBC, Jon also served as the Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President of Koniag Government Services. When not working with his teammates at the KBBC and supporting his Kodiak community, you will find

Limiting Visitor Access; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 1:15 p.m.

Penny Peters
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
Tourism Industry Development Manager
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

Penny Peters is a strong believer in the word “Community” and has found a passion in being a part of Akwesasne’s economic growth. Penny is currently working with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe as the Tourism Industry Development Manager on Akwesasne’s Cultural Tourism Initiative. Penny is also a member of the Akwesasne Tourism Working Group which began working on cultural tourism in 2014. Previously, Penny worked with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to develop the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Strategic Planning for Cultural Tourism: A Process for Implementing Community and Economic Development; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 2:30 p.m.

Monica Poling
Marketing & Public Relations Manager
AIANTA

After having spent more than a decade as a journalist with one of the leading travel trade news websites, Monica Poling turned in her daily byline in order to manage AIANTA’s marketing, public relations and social media efforts. In her role as Marketing & Public Relations Manager for AIANTA, she strives to bring awareness to AIANTA’s programs and also to develop awareness for AIANTA members and Indian Country Tourism as a whole.

Prior to her career in journalism, Monica spent five years promoting international tourism to Korea as the Marketing Manager for the Korea Tourism Organization. Before that, she managed member outreach for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

Give a New Voice to Your Marketing through Storytelling; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 2:15 p.m.
The Asterisk Nation: The Importance of Data Collection; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Levi R. Rickert
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Publisher/Editor
Native News Online

Levi Rickert is an American Indian journalist. A tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Rickert founded Native News Online, a daily American Indian news publication where he serves as publisher and editor. Since its founding, Native News Online has grown into one of the most-read daily American Indian media websites in the United States.

As an American Indian journalist, Rickert has covered important events that impact Indian Country, including White House tribal nations conferences, Congressional hearings, missing and murdered Indigenous women and the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline. Rickert wants his work to be reflective of his passion to help improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.

In addition to his Native News Online duties, Rickert served as the editor-in-chief of the Tribal Business Journal, a monthly print magazine that promoted economic development in Indian Country.

A lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rickert is the former executive director of the North American Indian Center of Grand Rapids.

Got Press? How to Pitch Media Like a Pro; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 4 p.m.

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

George served his Pueblo in Northern New Mexico for 12 years, both as Lt. Governor for two years and then as Governor for ten years. 

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 as governor, he 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.
Building Tribal Arts Programs; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 10:30 a.m

Sherry Rupert, Leadership AnnouncementSherry L. Rupert
Paiute/Washoe
Executive Director
AIANTA

Sherry L. Rupert, of Paiute and Washoe heritage, joined AIANTA as Executive Director in 2019 after an illustrious career with the State of Nevada. Formerly the Executive Director of the State of Nevada Indian Commission, she managed Nevada’s Indian Territory, the state’s official arm for promoting Native American tourism, and created and produced the annual Nevada Tribal Tourism Conference for more than a decade.
 
Also the former President of AIANTA’s Board of Directors, Sherry brings extensive experience in tribal tourism, economic development, marketing, tribal relations and legislative advocacy, Her work at the national level includes serving on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (US TTAB) and AIANTA’s Board of Directors since 2010. She is also the recipient of multiple awards for her work in tourism and economic development and she was also instrumental in the passage of the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act during her tenure as AIANTA Board President.

President’s Report/Director’s Report; Wednesday, Sept. 17; 11:45 a.m

Luisa Salomoni
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service

Luisa Salomoni is a Commercial Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), based at the American Consulate in Milan, Italy. USCS’ mission is to help American companies export, to support the travel and tourism sector by increasing the number of foreign visitors to the United States and to ease Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the United States.

After working three and a half years in the private sector, Luisa joined the U.S. Commercial Service in 1991. Her portfolio includes B&F and Travel and Tourism. She has a deep knowledge of the Italian Travel Marketplace through her work in promoting the U.S. travel destinations in Italy. 

She is also the organizer of Showcase USA-Italy, an annual tourism matchmaking event that puts new-to-market exhibitors in contact with Italian tour operators and trade media. On behalf of USCS, she started working with AIANTA in 2013. Together with AIANTA she organized a familiarization trip of Italian operators and media to the Midwest area, showcasing Native Wisconsin.

Gold Key Tools for International Tourism Success; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Paige Williams Shepherd, Chickasaw CountryPaige Williams Shepherd
Director of Corporate Development and Tourism
Chickasaw Nation

Paige Williams Shepherd joined the Chickasaw Nation in October 2008 as the director of tourism for the Department of Commerce. Currently Paige serves as the director of corporate development and tourism. Paige’s primary responsibility include corporate development as a means for tourism development and the planning, development, management and operation of tourism for the Chickasaw Nation.

Under the tourism umbrella, Paige oversees Chickasaw Country, the travel and tourism destination representing over 7,600 square miles of culture, nature, recreation and entertainment located in south-central Oklahoma. Currently Paige serves as a board member for the US Travel Association, Civic Center Foundation, Mount St Mary’s High School, UCO Foundation, Oklahoma State University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Oklahoma City Ballet among other civic and community boards. ION OK has recognized Paige for 30/30 NextGen, Journal Records Achievers Under 40, OKC Friday as Next Generation Most Powerful Oklahoman and most recently as Most Powerful in Communications by OKC Friday. Prior to joining the Chickasaw Nation, Mrs. Shepherd, an Oklahoma native, lived and worked in Washington, DC.

Paige is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Vanderbilt University and holds a Masters of Tourism degree from The George Washington University in Sustainable Destination Management, with a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University. Avid travelers, Paige and her husband Jason seek to travel to a new destination or country every year to understand other cultures and be immersed in rich experiences.

The Asterisk Nation: The Importance of Data Collection; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 10:30 a.m.

Stacey SimmonsStacey M. Simmons
Alutiiq
Director of Operations
Kodiak Brown Bear Center

Stacey Simmons grew up in the village of Old Harbor on Kodiak. Both her parents are Alaska Native. Tourism has always been an important part of her life. Her first job was in the hospitality industry at a fishing lodge and her parents both worked in tourism. She continues to promote and support tourism today. Presently she is the President of Discover Kodiak, the Convention & Visitors Bureau for Kodiak and the Katmai Coast and serves as the past-President of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce. Her goal on both Boards is to be the link between the rural communities, tribal entities and the tourism industry. She understands firsthand the importance of tourism and its tremendous ability to impact the economy. Her vision for the future of Kodiak and the Kodiak Brown Bear Center is to create a thriving, sustainable, eco-friendly tourism destination where guests come for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stacey loves to out hunt her husband, fish and pick berries.

Limiting Visitor Access; Wednesday, Sept. 18;  1:15 p.m.

Greg Takehara
CEO
Tourism Cares

Greg joined Tourism Cares as its CEO, effective May 1, 2019. He served as a Board Member since 2012; acted as its Vice-Chair in 2017 – 2018 and its Chairman from December 2018 through April 2019.

Greg was previously the President of Trip Mate, Inc., a travel insurance administrator and service provider. He acted in that role from January 1, 2018 through April 2019, after joining the company in November 2014 in a senior management capacity. He was previously in senior management at Aon Affinity/Berkely Travel from 1995 to 2014, specifically responsible for all claims related operations and risk management education for its Travel Agents Professional Liability program. Prior to joining Aon/Berkely, Greg served as General Counsel for The Mark Travel Corporation, a tour operator in Milwaukee, WI.
Greg was on the Board of NTA from 2009 – 2011 and the Board of the IGLTA Foundation from 2015 – 2016. He has also served on SYTA’s Safety Committee and USTOA’s Associate Member Advisory Committee.

He maintains his law license in the State of Wisconsin and is a licensed Adjuster, as well as a Life, Accident & Health Agent and Property & Casualty Producer. He is from Chicago, Ilinois. and has a Bachelor of Arts Honors degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Limiting Visitor Access; Wednesday, Sept. 18; 1:15 p.m.

Ariel Tweto Inupiat
TV Personality & Producer

Ariel Tweto, one of the stars of Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska, is a TV personality and producer. Ariel was a contestant on the ABC game show Wipeout in 2008 and 2009. She became a frequent guest on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2012-2015, and David Letterman. In addition to her television appearances, Ariel received her private pilot certificate and is also the founder and president of Popping Bubbles, a nonprofit that supports suicide prevention.

Many Voices – Telling the Story of the USA Through Film; Thursday, Sept. 19; 11:45 a.m.

Gabrielle R. VanBergen
Natural Resources Project Coordinator
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Gabrielle VanBergen has had a passion for the natural world for her entire life, which led her to earn her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Northland College. She has been working for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for the past 4 1/2 years, first serving as their Water Resources Assistant, then assuming the role of Water Resources Manager, and now she works as the Tribe’s Project Coordinator, which includes a wide variety of work such as; identifying and restoring degraded habitat and riparian areas, repatriating high priority tribal lands for conservation, conducting invasive species control work, and maintaining and promoting Red Cliff’s Frog Bay Tribal National Park and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

Developing a Tribal National Park; Thursday, Sept. 19; 10:30 a.m.

Jarica Walsh
Osage Nation
Director, Art in Public Places
Oklahoma Arts Council

Jarica is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, having received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts with an emphasis in Filmmaking. Prior to joining 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.

Shoshana Wasserman
Thlopthlocco/Muscogee (Creek)
Deputy Director
The American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

Shoshana Wasserman has a M.A. in Business Communications, specializing in organizational development, from Jones International University and a B.S.in Education, focusing on multicultural studies, from the University of Oklahoma. As Deputy Director of The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM), she oversees operations, management, administration, learning and engagement, visitor services & marketing. She is also co-curator of the Family Discovery Center.

She began working on this project in 2005, planning and implementing the 2005 Groundblessing Ceremony. In 2007, she transitioned into Director of Marketing and Public Relations and developed pilot-programs, while serving on the AICCM Design/Planning Team. In 2012, museum construction halted due to funding issues. She managed and cultivated community relationships with critical stakeholders including: Tribal, State, City governmental entities, and regional and national museum institutions. Previously, she was a co-founder of The Great American Indian Dance Company attracting tourism revenue internationally and nationally for the dance company and State of Oklahoma.

Driving Tourism Through Cultural Centers; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

Karen WildeKaren Wilde
Muscogee (Creek)/Pawnee
Tribal Liaison
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site 

Karen Wilde is the Tribal Liaison for the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site located in southeast Colorado. She has vast experience in partnering with state, federal and tribal governments. She previously served as Tribal Partnership Specialist for the Census Center-Denver and the Project Coordinator for the IHS Coordinating Center-SDPI at CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Her experience with consultation and government-to-government relationships evolved during the nine years at the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in Colorado. 

During her time with NPS, she serves as Co-Chair of CIRCLE which is an indigenous group of NPS employees, is a lifetime member of SAIGE, was a writing team member on a regional Sacred Sites guidance, and assisted NPS directorate in tribal consultation. In addition, she volunteers outside of park service duties on various civic and community organizations. She is a first generation college graduate and is pursuing a Masters of Jurisprudence in Indian Law through the University of Tulsa.

Public Lands Success Stories; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 1:05 p.m.

Daniel WileyDaniel Wiley
Chief of Resources Stewardship
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, National Park Service

Dan is the Chief of Resources Stewardship with the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, National Park Service. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Wildlife Management with graduate work in Plant and Animal Ecology. Dan taught Alternative Energy at the college level and was a private landscaping/habitat consultant, before working up through Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts ranks to General Manager. Dan has 18+ years with the National Park Service–the last 13 years have been with Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Geotourism Along the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail; Tuesday, Sept. 17; 2:15 p.m.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Membership

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

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