O me’a”kwa: Looking Forward to 2021

(I’m going to travel over there, Northern Paiute)

Dear AIANTA members, friends and partners–

As we enter the “holiday season,” I find myself filled with a sense of hope for the coming year.

I know that Thanksgiving has many connotations, not all of them positive for Native Americans, but I do like the idea of taking the opportunity to count my blessings and express my gratitude for all the joys of the previous year.

I think that is particularly important when the year has been as challenging as 2020.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how challenging one year could be or how many devastating changes could happen in the span of just a few months.

The year left many of us wondering when we would see a return to “normalcy” and left even more of us questioning how normal would be defined in the coming months, seasons and years.

While there are still more questions than answers for 2021, I am particularly thankful to be working in such an amazing industry, as I am always left energized by the conversations I have with tribal tourism professionals.

So many of you have taken a difficult year and used it to assess your business models, while also reimagining and redefining how you plan to approach tourism in the coming months.

Reimagine, Redefine and Reunite

That’s what we expect 2021 to be all about, which is why we’re thrilled to announce that this will be the theme of our 22nd annual American Indian Tourism Conference. Scheduled for October 25-28, at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona, the conference will reunite old friends and pave the way for new collaborations and brand new tourism offerings.

While we remain hopeful for a full recovery of the tourism industry in the coming years, 2020 has also reminded us that things can change in an instant.

More importantly, however, the past year has taught us that even the most challenging goals are made easier with the support of an amazing community behind you.

While I wouldn’t wish another 2020 on anyone, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned this past year.

It’s never goodbye, but see you later.

(See you later, Northern Paiute)


Sherry L. Rupert, Chief Executive Officer
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association