24th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference Program

October 24-27, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mobile Workshops

Walking in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors
Exploring the Cultures of San Diego County
[More Info]

Sponsored by: Rincon Tribe

1  – 5 p.m.
Business of Art Seminar

Learn tips on building tribal arts programs, working with galleries and museums, organizing local arts markets and more. [More Info]

6 – 7:30 p.m.
Opening Reception

Sponsored by: Rincon Tribe

Experience Southern California’s first tribally-owned brewery. Rincon Reservation Road uses sustainable ingredients and the flavors of Funner, CA located at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. The Rincon Tribe invites you to experience their beer, enjoy the taproom and learn about the rich culture of Southern California.

more info ...

Elder Blessing/Prayer

Welcome
Councilwoman Laurie Gonzales

Dinner & Cultural Presentation

Bird Singers

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Conference Check-in
7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
AIANTA Lounge Open

Sponsored by: Arizona Office of Tourism

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open
8:30 – 10 a.m.
Opening Ceremonies/Regalia Day

 

Welcome to the 2022 American Indian Tourism Conference with the theme “Rising Together for the Journey Ahead.” We are so excited to reunite for another year and ask you to join us in celebrating the future of tourism in Indian Country.

more info ...

Elder Blessing/Prayer

Color Guard
Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians Veterans Association and Gourd Singers

Grand Entry
AIANTA requests all attendees wear their regalia for this year’s AITC grand entry

AITC Emcee
Kainoa Daines (Kānaka Maoli), Director of Culture & Product Development, Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau

Rincon Tribe Land Acknowledgement

Welcome
Emerson Vallo (Pueblo of Acoma), AIANTA Board President
Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe), CEO, AIANTA

10 – 10:30 a.m.
Mid-Morning Coffee Break

Sponsored by: Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions “1”

Session 1A: Re-Interpreting the Anza Trail with AIANTA: Native Lands and Tribal Travel Guide and Map ​
Naomi Torres, Superintendent, Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

more info ...

Re-Interpreting the Anza Trail with AIANTA: Native Lands and Tribal Travel Guide and Map

National Park Service and AIANTA representatives will discuss the publication of the Anza Trail Native Lands and Tribal Travel Guide and highlight some of the tourist attractions along the 1210-mile trail corridor. Video interviews were collected as part of the project and presenters will share some clips. The organizations will discuss the Anza Trail’s 250-year commemoration and ideas for collaboration.

Speaker: 

Naomi Torres, Superintendent, Juan Bautista de Anza National HistoricTrail

Naomi Torres is the Superintendent of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. She is a conservation professional with more than 25 years of experience working to help communities form deep personal connections with their environment and heritage. A native of El Paso, Texas, Naomi holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Rice University.

 

Session 1B: The Next Generation of Native American Cultural Centers and Museums​
Brian Fagerstrom, Founder / CEO, Amaktoolik Studios
Lisa Jellife, Senior Strategist, Amaktoolik Studios

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The Next Generation of Native American Cultural Centers and Museums

“The Next Generation of Native American Cultural Centers and Museums” – This session will look at case studies of Native American cultural centers and museums and the differences between individual tribal destinations versus regional-focused cultural collaborations having wide-ranging purposes. Some cultural centers are meant for internal tribal purposes like cultural preservation while others also support economic-based tourism.

Speakers:

Brian Fagerstrom, Founder / CEO, Amaktoolik Studios

Brian Fagerstrom, AIA, is CEO and Founder of Amaktoolik Studios and is a member of the Bering Straits Native Corporation. Brian has 34 years of experience working with hundreds of projects with Native American communities ranging from schools, community planning, casinos, tribal courts, cultural and language facilities, hotels, and conference centers. Brian has worked with 33 Native American clients across the U.S. and Canada and completed projects with a combined construction value of $1.5 Billion. Brian was described by a client as having an “uncommon measure of common sense.”

Lisa Jellife, Senior Strategist, Amaktoolik Studios

Lisa Jelliffe is a Senior Strategist at Amaktoolik Studios with over 28 years of experience, including over 12 working with Native American communities. She offers diverse interdisciplinary expertise having a unique perspective on community outreach and engagement, strategic planning, economic development and tourism planning, marketing and public relations, sustainable community development, and design and planning processes. Lisa will bring a thoughtful dialogue of research and study of cultural facilities, including new trends in cultural destinations looking at place branding, cultural design features of facilities and places, and strategic positioning of cultural facilities as tourism opportunities. Lisa’s education background includes a Bachelor of Business Administration, certificates in Creative Placemaking, Economic Development, Green Building, Sustainable Community Development, and a Certificate in Cultural and Heritage Tourism from the AIANTA and Georgetown University program.

 

Session 1C: Tourism Labor Market – Problems and Solutions
Matthew Robinson, Co-Founder & Principal, KlasRobinson Q.E.D.

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Tourism Labor Market – Problems and Solutions

The Tourism Sector accounts for over one-third of all reservation jobs. This session will examine tourist trends and related economic indicators, current labor issues being faced in the tourism sector and potential solutions – specifically as it relates to Indian Country. This will include an interactive discussion with audience members of current issues, concerns and suggestions as it relates to their specific situations and enterprises.

Speaker:

Matthew Robinson, Co-Founder & Principal, KlasRobinson Q.E.D.

Matt Robinson, Co-Founder and Principal of KlasRobinson Q.E.D., has been a consultant in the hospitality industry for 30 years, specializing in market research, feasibility analyses and economic impact studies. Mr. Robinson has consulted on numerous hospitality and leisure industry projects. With a background in planning and economic development, Mr. Robinson has specific expertise working in Indian Country.

noon – 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon & General Session
more info ...

Elder Blessing/Prayer

Introduction of AIANTA Board

Keynote Speech:
Chef Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen

1:45 – 3 p.m.
AIANTA Regional Meetings

Join members of the AIANTA Board of Directors and nearby colleagues to discuss issues and challenges facing your region. Input gathered at these sessions will help AIANTA advise decision makers in supporting tribal tourism development and growth, and determine how to best deliver training and other resources.

more info ...

Northern Alaska
Southeast Alaska
Hawai’i
Central California
Southern California
Northwest (Idaho, Washington)
Pacific Northwest (Northern California, Oregon)
Great Basin (Nevada, Eastern California)
Oklahoma
Rocky Mountain (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming)
Central Plains (Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio)
Midwest (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin)
Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah)
Northeast (Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia)
Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, East Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)

3 – 3:30 p.m.
Snack & Chat with Exhibitors
3:30 – 5 p.m.
AIANTA Town Hall / Information Gathering Session

In this AIANTA Town Hall series, AITC attendees will have the chance to introduce themselves and discuss their challenges and their successes of the previous year. AIANTA will also introduce it’s latest Economic Impact of Indigenous Tourism research, the research breaks down American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-owned hospitality businesses in the U.S. and their economic impact.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Conference Check – In
7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
AIANTA Lounge Open

Sponsored by: Arizona Office of Tourism

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open
7:30 – 9 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast

Sponsored by:  Paragon Casino Resort

9 – 10:15 a.m.
Plenary Session
 

President & CEO Report
Emerson Vallo (Pueblo of Acoma), AIANTA Board President
Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe), AIANTA CEO

Board President Emerson Vallo and AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert present highlights of AIANTA’s activities during FY2022 and share ideas on how indigenous communities can join AIANTA in marketing Native tourism. Additionally, Emerson and Sherry will introduce the newest AIANTA Board members.

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.
Mid-Morning Coffee Break

Sponsored by: Visit Cherokee Nation

10:45 a.m. – noon

Breakout Sessions “2”

Session 2A: A Primer to Building a Dark Sky Program​
Larry Burton, Partner Program Coordinator, AIANTA
David Larson, Park Ranger – Interpretation, Joshua Tree, National Park Service

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A Primer to Building a Dark Sky Program

Dark sky workshops are one of the fastest-growing fields in the tourism business. This session will cover the basics necessary to assemble a successful Dark Sky tour package and answer any questions you may have to help you decide if they are a good fit for your organization.

Speakers:

Larry Burton, Partner Program Coordinator, AIANTA

Carson City-based Larry Burton has been taking photographs of Nevada and the Eastern Sierras for 40 years.  His education into the art of photography began in 1980 in the Owens Valley and continues to this day.  He started his business “Outdoor Adventures” in 2008 guiding photographers to the scenic wonders of Nevada. He has completed photo inventories for Nevada Indian Territory & Lander County Tourism, as well as shooting events, landscapes & wildlife. He is working now as the Partner Program Coordinator along the California Trail in Nevada for AIANTA.

David Larson, Park Ranger – Interpretation, Joshua Tree National Park Service

David Larson is a park ranger at Joshua Tree National Park and is known as a “dark ranger”, working to preserve a naturally dark night sky, reduce light pollution, and share the wonders of the cosmos with the public. His co-presenter, Stacy Manson is a Physical Science Technician who works closely with scientists at the park to collect data and implement monitoring programs that help protect this valuable resource for future generations.

Session 2B: Owamniyomni – The Falls Initiative​
Carrie Day Aspinwall (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Proprietor, Special Projects Consultant, CDA Enterprises
Angela Two Stars (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Dakota), Director and Curator, All My Relations Arts (AMRA)

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The Falls Initiative

This session will introduce participants to the Falls Initiative, a Native-led vision and multi-jurisdictional partnership for the transformation of Owamniyomni, the Falls, a riverfront site at the heart of downtown Minneapolis that is sacred to Mni Sota Dakota people, desecrated over decades by the industrial origins of Minneapolis.

Our vision is to create places of healing and celebration that acknowledge the past and advance a more equitable and inclusive future.

Speakers:

Carrie Day Aspinwall (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Proprietor, Special Projects Consultant, CDA Enterprises

Carrie Day Aspinwall, Urban Band Member and member, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, specializes in engagement and relationship-building across tribal and non-tribal cultures. A recognized leader in capacity building, development, and government relations, Carrie facilitates the Native Partnership Council central to the Falls Initiative (www.thefalls.org).

Angela Two Stars (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Dakota), Director and Curator, All My Relations Arts (AMRA)

Angela Two Stars (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Dakota) is the director and curator of All My Relations Arts (AMRA), a contemporary Native American art gallery and arts program that works to highlight the strength and visibility of contemporary Native American artists. All My Relations Arts is a project of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) in Minneapolis, MN. Angela’s professional arts career began at All My Relations Arts gallery as an exhibiting artist, which then led to further opportunities including her first curatorial role for the exhibition titled, Bring Her Home, Stolen Daughters of Turtle Island, a powerful exhibition highlighting the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Angela is a practicing visual artist with a focus on public art. Angela’s public art graces the shores of Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis and shares the Dakota language through visual accessibility. Her most recent public art commission, Okciyapi, is installed at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, an acquisition of the Walker Art Center. Angela’s public artworks also include commissions for the City of Minneapolis, and the Saint Paul Port Authority through a project with Forecast Public Art. Angela has served as a board member for the Friends of the Falls since February of 2020 and participates as a member of the Native Partnership Council. 

Session 2C: International Marketing Workshop: Opportunities through Brand USA
Skylar Clark, Director of Partner Marketing, Brand USA

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International Marketing Workshop: Opportunities through Brand USA

In the new uncharted era of travel, Brand USA has been focused on keeping the USA top of mind among consumers and inspire international visitors discover the endless diverse travel opportunities that exist in our people, places, and experiences. Learn about the latest international market trends and insights and discover how you can easily apply this into your marketing promotions through Brand USA. 

Speaker:

Skylar Clark, Director of Partner Marketing for Brand USA

Skylar Clark is the Director of Partner 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. Since joining Brand USA in 2016, Skylar has been a part of the partner marketing team, starting as a partner services representative for Brand USA’s southeast partners and now oversees partner strategic needs by developing and managing customized marketing campaigns.

12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon & General Session

Elder Blessing/Prayer

Keynote: Brand USA
Aaron Wodin-Schwartz, Public Affairs Senior Vice President, Brand USA

1:45 – 3 p.m.

Breakout Sessions “3”

Session 3A: Developing a Tourism Feasibility Study
Anne Ketz, CEO & Services Director, 106 Group
Ann McCormack, Economic Development Planner, Nez Perce Tribe

more info ...

Developing a Tourism Feasibility Study

Effective tourism planning enhances and sustains a community’s culture and well-being while creating opportunities for economic growth. Together with Ann McCormack, Economic Development Planner for the Nez Perce Tribe, we’ll share tools for developing a tourism feasibility study and creating one-of-a-kind places that people want to visit again and again.

Speakers:

Anne Ketz, CEO & Services Director, 106 Group

Anne Ketz is CEO & Services Director for 106 Group. Anne’s career in cultural resources management and planning extends over three continents. She is committed to supporting American Indian communities in community development and economic development through tourism, cultural revitalization, and historic preservation.

Ann McCormack, Economic Development Planner, Nez Perce Tribe

Ann McCormack is the Economic Development Planner at the Nez Perce Tribe where she is committed to advancing the cultural, economic, and social well-being of the Nez Perce people. She is currently leading the Tribe’s initiative to determine the feasibility of a tourism program that will identify opportunities and support development that upholds and promotes Nez Perce culture and values. Ann worked with the American Doll company to design the Kaya doll and provide accurate depictions of the Nez Perce culture. Ann also served on the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

Session 3B: Preserving Indigenous Place Names along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Brye Lefler, Tribal Partnerships Specialist, National Park Service
Larry Calhoun, Outdoor Recreation Planner, National Park Service
Dan Wiley, Senior Leader Resources Stewardship, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

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Preserving Indigenous Place Names along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Recognition of the importance of Indigenous knowledge is expanding, evidenced by the increase in Tribal language and traditional food programs, enshrinement in federal policy, and attention in academic research. When appropriate, Indigenous knowledge offers rich context and depth to cultural tourism experiences. As an important component of Indigenous knowledge, place names offer a unique way to support Tribal language revitalization, cultural and natural resource protection, and the enhancement of cultural tourism experiences, where appropriate. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is interested in collaborating with interested Tribes and organizations on this exciting project.

Speakers:

Brye Lefler, Tribal Partnerships Specialist, National Park Service

Brye Lefler works with the National Park Service as the Tribal Partnerships Specialist for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Brye has worked with Tribal Nations across the U.S. on collaborative projects including cultural and natural resource management, traditional ecological knowledge, geotourism and interpretation.

Larry Calhoun, Outdoor Recreation Planner, National Park Service

Larry Calhoun is a leadership/management expert. Has earned two BS degrees, First from the University of Virginia in Political Science the second from Georgia Tech in Electrical Engineering. An MBA from The University of Nevada Reno and A Master’s in Outdoor Recreation from Liberty University. Larry’s career has been a model of service recognized with awards and decorations.

Dan Wiley, Senior Leader Resources Stewardship, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Dan is the Senior Leader of Integrated 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, was a private landscaping/habitat consultant, before working up through Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts ranks to General Manager. Dan has 20 + years with the National Park Service.

Session 3C: A More Responsible Visitor: Educating Travelers to Tribal Nations, Alaska Native Villages and Hawaiian Homelands
Andrew Leary, Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships, Leave No Trace

more info ...

A More Responsible Visitor: Educating Travelers to Tribal Nations, Alaska Native Villages and Hawaiian Homelands

Cultural heritage and outdoor recreation are a driver for many travelers. This visitation, however, results in significant impacts stemming visitors’ lack of education. A new tool is helping to change that. Hear from a panel of Native communities using the new resource and learn ways to reach your own visitors.

Speakers:

Andrew Leary, Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships, Leave No Trace

Andrew builds strong partner relationships with tourism and travel professionals, closely working together to achieve long-term goals and objectives around Leave No Trace. Andrew acts in a support role for the 29 members of the AIANTA Leave No Trace Advisory Group.

3 – 3:30 p.m.
Snack & Chat with Exhibitors

Sponsor: Inn of the Mountain Gods

3:30 – 4:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions “4”

Session 4A: Working with the U.S. Commercial Service
Aron Davidson, Global Teams Leader for Travel & Tourism, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service
Karen Ballard, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Idaho
U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration
Stacia Morfin, Chief Executive Officer, Nez Perce Tourism, LLC

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Working with the U.S. Commercial Service 

Learn how the U.S. Commercial Service works to help your destination or attraction reach a global audience. As the Federal agency tasked with export and tourism promotion, the Commercial Service can assist with finding partners and contacts in the international travel trade and travel media.

Speakers:

Aron Davidson, Global Teams Leader for Travel & Tourism, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service

Aron Davidson is the Travel and Tourism Global Team Leader with the United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service. In this capacity, he manages Commercial Service programs focusing on the global promotion of U.S. destinations. A San Diego native, Aron has a Masters in International Trade Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Spanish from the University of California, Davis.

Karen Ballard, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Idaho U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration

Karen joined the Foreign Commercial Service in 2014 and was posted to Las Vegas, Nevada, Sydney Australia and most recently Buenos Aires, Argentina. She returned home to Idaho for a new position at the Idaho Export Assistance Center.

Before joining the Commercial Service, Karen worked for the Idaho Department of Commerce for twenty years, first as an International Tourism Trade Specialist and then as the Administrator of the Idaho Tourism and Film office. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with BrandUSA, AIANTA, the U.S. Travel Association and many federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Commerce. While Director of Idaho Tourism, Karen served as chair of the Western States Tourism Policy Council and co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region Tourism Committee.

While promoting and marketing Idaho, her travels included U.S. embassy and consular-supported gubernatorial trade missions to Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. She also worked closely with our overseas offices to develop the market for Idaho in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Australia.

Stacia Morfin, Chief Executive Officer, Nez Perce Tourism, LLC

Ta’c ‘éetx papáayn’iinim wenỉikt wé es k’uusnim qicxnew’eet soyapoo wenỉikt wé es Stacia Morfin. Welcome. My Indian name is Takes Care of Water, and my given name is Stacia Morfin. I am the owner and operator of Nez Perce Tourism, LLC aNative-woman business located in the Pacific Northwest. I am a proud member of Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) nation with aBachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an Associate degree in Hospitality Management from Lewis-Clark StateCollege. My business, Nez Perce Tourism, provides a warm welcome to Nimiipuu Country where guests will experience a true sense of place with Nimiipuu “The People.” Radiating with cultural wisdom, Nez Perce Tourism is the only place in the world where you will hear our side of history, witness the stories of our ancestors, and receive legendary hospitality founded in our cultural understanding of honor and respect.

“Now is the time, we, the Nimiipuu, share our own story, with cultural integrity at the forefront. I am proud to say tourism is not new to our nation. Historically and from this day forward people will be reminded that we have and always (will) beknown for our vast connection to the land in which we originated from. Guiding and sharing our wisdom is in our DNA.”

Session 4B: Regenerative Tourism: Tradition and Innovation
Mālia Sanders, Executive Director, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Waikīkī, Hawaiʻi

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Regenerative Tourism: Tradition and Innovation

Speakers:

Mālia Sanders, Executive Director, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Waikīkī, Hawaiʻi

Mālia Sanders is a detail oriented and goal driven performer in the field of Cultural Tourism. She is currently the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA), a non-profit organization deeply rooted in perpetuating the authenticity of the Native Hawaiian culture and values in Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry through advocacy, education, training and program development.

Mālia Sanders is a kanaka ‘ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) and graduate of the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, the University of Hawaiʻi, and has over 20 years of upper management experience. She has held various positions on the island of Hawaiʻi, honing her craft within the Hospitality Industry in all areas of guest service. In 2011 she returned to Oʻahu and was offered an opportunity to gain experience in the non-profit arena. Mālia recently celebrated her eleventh year with NaHHA in July of 2022.

Mālia is a founding member and Alakaʻi of ʻAha Pūlama Pāʻū Hololio, a Hawaiian Pāʻū Riding Club and dedicates her personal time to civic engagement and perpetuating authentic Native Hawaiian practices and cultural preservation.  

Mālia currently serves on the Board of Directors and is the Vice President of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu and is the Chair of the annual Holokū Ball. Mālia was awarded the Social Impact Entrepreneur of 2022 by the Hawaiʻi Venture Capitalist Association, was recently nationally featured as a 2022 Native American Women Leaders in Cultural Tourism by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and is a 2022 Pineapple Award recipient which recognizes her contributions in hospitality leadership in Hawai‘i. Mālia is an experienced horseman and enjoys her time with her ʻohana (family) in Kapolei, O‘ahu where she currently resides.     

Session 4C: Opportunities & Challenges Throughout the Different Stages of Development of Cultural Tourism Packages
Anina Grasso, Director of Travel Experiences Development, Destination America
Anand Nachtajler, Travel Experiences Developer, Destination America

more info ...

Opportunities & Challenges Throughout the Different Stages of Development of Cultural Tourism Packages

This presentation will talk about the different stages of developing and building cultural tourism packages focusing on the opportunities & challenges from a tour operator’s perspective with real examples of Indigenous tourism experiences in the Americas that DA has developed alongside and with communities.

Speakers:

Anina Grasso, Director of Travel Experiences Development, Destination America

Anina was born and raised in Germany where she graduated with a BA in Tourism and Travel Management from University of Applied Sciences Worms. In 2011, she moved to Los Angeles, California where she started her career in the travel industry. As part of Destination America since 2018, Anina now holds the position of Director of Travel Experiences Development overseeing the development of new itineraries and experiences for North, Central & South America for various travel brands including Trafalgar and Insight Vacations.

Anand Nachtajler, Travel Experiences Developer, Destination America

Anand is originally from a small fishing village off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. After moving to Northern California as a teenager, he later graduated in Anthropology at the California State University Sacramento. Anand has been in the tourism industry for 11 years. As a Travel Director, he directed programs in the US for various travel brands like Trafalgar and Insight Vacations brands. In 2019, Anand joined the Travel Experiences Development team where he manages all Latin American programs as well as some of the USA itineraries.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open
8 a.m. – noon
Conference Check-in
8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
AIANTA Lounge Open

Sponsor: Arizona Office of Tourism

7:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast

Sponsor: 106 Group

8:45 – 10 a.m.

Breakout Sessions “5”

Session 5A: Opportunities for Partnering with the USDA Forest Service on Tourism and Recreation Economies Development 
Toby Bloom, National PM Travel, Tourism, Interpretation, USDA Forest Service

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Opportunities for Partnering with the USDA Forest Service on Tourism and Recreation Economies Development

Learn about the various ways to work with the Forest Service through partnerships, funding, and technical assistance to grow your communities’ Tourism and Recreation portfolio. There will be time for discussion at the end of the presentation.

Speaker:

Toby Bloom, National PM Travel, Tourism, Interpretation, USDA Forest Service

Toby Bloom is the Forest Service National Program Manager for Tourism and Interpretation. Her portfolio includes the National Forest Explorer Mobile App; 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; 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.

Session 5B: Case Study: Tribal Tourism and Visitor Experience at the Grand Canyon 
Janet Balsom, Chief of Communications, Partnerships, & External Affairs, NPS

more info ...

Info coming soon

Session 5C:  Paige Shepard, Chickasaw (Doctoral Presentation)

more info ...

Speaker: 

Paige Shepard, Director of Tourism, Department of Commerce, Chickasaw Nation

Paige Williams Shepherd joined the Chickasaw Nation in October 2008 as the director of tourism for the Department of Commerce. Paige’s primary responsibilities include 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, OKC Ballet, Civic Center Foundation, UCO Foundation and Oklahoma State University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Paige has been recognized by ION OK for 30/30 NextGen, Journal Records Achievers Under 40, OKC Friday as Next Generation Most Powerful Oklahoman and 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 holds a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Vanderbilt University, Masters of Tourism Administration from The George Washington University in Sustainable Destination Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University.

10 – 10:30 a.m.
Mid-Morning Coffee Break

Sponsored By: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions “6”

Session 6A: Walking with Tribes & Native Businesses – Supporting the Economic Future of Indian Country
James Henry, Economic Development Specialist, Office of Indian Economic Development (OIED)
Samantha Leonard, Loan Specialist, OIED Indian Loan Guarantee Program
Jennifer Cesar, Alaska Zone Manager, OIED Division of Capital Investment

more info ...

Info coming soon

Session 6B: Expanding, Empowering and Healing: How collaboration, trust and partnership is allowing the Yurok Tribe and California State Parks to bring a new level of tribal tourism to the Redwoods! / Redwoods National and State Parks Tribal Engagement
Victor Bjelajac, North Coast Redwoods District Superintendent, California State Parks
Rosie Clayburn, Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Yurok Tribe

more info ...

Info coming soon

Session 6C: Agritourism 
Kelli Hepler, Agritourism Specialist, AIANTA 

 

more info ...

Agritourism

Description Coming Soon

Speaker:

Kelli Hepler, Agritourism Specialist, AIANTA

Kelli Hepler is a Colorado-based agritourism developer and marketing consultant. She has worked in tourism for 35 years running her own business promoting and developing tourism products for clients and organizations. Kelli has been an active part of agritourism development for 20 years creating award winning programs and working to create clearer paths for agritourism business. Kelli has been working with farmers and ranchers to create agritourism programs that connect their guest to the land and the food they produce. Educational tours, farm-to-table dinners, special events and product development are part of her focus.

Kelli has two adult children, Tanner and Asha and three vivacious grandchildren, Wyatt, Stetson and Maysa. She loves to mountain bike, kayak, try foodie adventures and has a house rabbit to make things really fun!

noon – 1:15 p.m.
Preview Luncheon & General Session

Sponsored by:  2023 Host of the 25th Anniversary – Choctaw Country

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions “7”

Session 7A: AIANTA’s Visitor Outreach Program – Showcasing Indian Country Tourism On a Global Stage
Ciarra Greene (Nimiipuu/Nez Perce), Visitor Outreach Manager, AIANTA
Jaslynn Begay (Navajo), Antelope Canyon
Penny Peters (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation), Tourism Industry Development Manager, Akwesasne Travel/ Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
Jeremy Arviso (Navajo), Marketing Director, Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours

more info ...

AIANTA’s Visitor Outreach Program – Showcasing Indian Country Tourism On a Global Stage

Description Coming soon

Speakers:

Sapooq’is Wíit’as (Nimiipuu) / Ciarra Greene (Nez Perce), Visitor Outreach Manager, AIANTA

Sapooq’is Wíit’as (Nimiipuu)/ Ciarra Greene (Nez Perce) is the Visitor Outreach Manager for AIANTA. With her Master of Science in Science Teaching from Portland State University (2019) and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University, her focus has been on promoting the protection and healing of Indigenous communities and homelands through culture, education, and science. Her experience in tourism has rapidly developed in the past three years, while her fifteen years of experience in outreach and education, founded in interdisciplinary collaboration with tribal communities, institutions, agencies, organizations, and businesses, have propelled her career. She views our role in tourism truly as an educational experience for tribal communities and our visiting guests alike. Ciarra strives to perpetuate her passion so others too may attain successful operations for their own communities, businesses, and honored guests who we welcome to tribal homelands.

Penny Peters (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation), Tourism Industry Development Manager, Akwesasne Travel/ Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

Penny Peters is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, and Akwesasne Travel Manager for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. Penny has been an integral part of the establishment of Akwesasne Travel and furthering the development of the tourism industry in Akwesasne. Penny is currently working to promote Akwesasne Travel through marketing, partnerships and awareness of indigenous culture. Raised in the mohawk culture Penny has strong ties to community, the environment and traditional ways. Penny believes that indigenous tourism is not only a means of economic growth for communities but also important for cultural preservation.

In 2021 Penny was elected to the NYSTIA Board and was excited to represent NY Tourism and the North Country. She has also been advocating for Indigenous tourism, especially within NY State. She hopes to help support indigenous businesses to create mutually beneficial partnerships with non-native entities to grow and strengthen the industry.

Jeremy Arviso (Navajo), Marketing Director, Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours

 Jeremy Arviso is the Marketing Director of Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours LLC, a tour agency offering quality customer service driven tours of the Upper Antelope Canyon in Lechee, Arizona.

Ashiihi dine’e ei dashicheii. Tó’aheedlíinii dine’e ei bashishchiin. Hopi, Pima, Tohono O’odam dine’e ei dashicheii. Kin ł ichii’nii dine’e ei dashinali.

I am of the Salt Clan. I am born for The Water Flows Together Clan. My maternal Grandpa is Hopi, Pima and Tohono O’odam. My paternal Grandpa is from the Red House Clan.

Before devoting his work full-time to AACT, Jeremy was a freelance graphic designer and artist who’s work has been in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian New York, Portland Art Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.

Jeremy has published work in Native Fashion Now: North American Indian Style, Native Art Visual Visions: Contemporary North American Indigenous Artists, Ziindi Magazine, Contemporary Native Art Magazine, Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry and The Navajo Times.He has also acted in PBS documentary “Tecumseh’s Vision – We Shall Remain”, New Line Cinema’s “The New World” and “Against The Wall” an independent film.

In addition to being a marketing director, Jeremy is a member of Cahokia SocialTech & ArtSpace uplifting indigenous design, art, and culture through pop-up events and retail. Cahokia is where self-determination and a solidarity economy intersect to support indigenous families. He also is the founder of The Original Landlords, a fashion label that reappropriates and indigenizes luxury brand, corporate and professional sports team logos into thought provoking graphics on apparel. Jeremy is also a father to an 11 year old autistic son whom he adores and collaborates with often. He’s been fortunate to have travelled across the globe seeing places he’s only read about in books, it’s obvious he incorporates what was gained from these adventures into every facet of his work. After 20 years of alcohol and substance abuse, he’s clean and sober sharing his life experience as a cautionary tale to those willing to hear his story.

Session 7B: SMS Findings from Survey to Identify Assistance Needed to Empower Tribal and Native Tourism
Daniel Nāho‘opi‘I (Kānaka Maoli, Native Hawaiian), Executive Vice President, SMS Research 

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Info coming soon

Session 7C: Cultural Heritage Tourism Community Conversations 
Carol McBryant
Terry Wildy
Ben Diaz

 

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Cultural Heritage Tourism Community Conversations Description

Join AIANTA, tribal partners and the National Park Service for a brief overview and update on a cultural tourism project being facilitated by AIANTA. This pilot project centers on the potential of building a strong and collaborative cultural heritage ecosystem by bringing together National Park Service staff and the associated tribes of Mount Rainier to build new, and strengthen existing relationships that enhance cultural heritage tourism opportunities and offerings through collaboration, co-creation, promotion, and sharing of resources.

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Snack & Chat with Exhibitors

Sponsored By: America250

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
The Heart Speaks (Closing Session)

 

Keynote Speech:
Autumn Harry

6 – 7 p.m.
No-Host Happy Hour
7 – 10 p.m.
Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala and Silent Auction

During the Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala, the AITC Silent Auction raises funds for AIANTA’s Tourism and Hospitality Scholarship Program. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Ariel Richardson at arichardson@aianta.org or call (505) 724-3592 to discuss your donation or for more information. 

A Warm Thank You to Our Partners

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Native American Agriculture Fund

Bureau of Land Management

National Park Service

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

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!

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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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