O me’a”kwa: New Beginnings
(I’m going to travel over there, Northern Paiute)
Dear AIANTA members, friends and partners–
Here at AIANTA we are taking a big sigh of relief as we come to the end of what has been one of the most difficult years in recent history.
I don’t need to recap the crazy year, you’ve all experienced it too. In addition to the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of you have suffered illnesses, personal losses, the decimation of your businesses and so much more.
This crazy year, when Zoom became a regular part of our daily routine, has made it difficult to share our challenges in person. No handshakes, hugs or even pats on the back. Our popular annual American Indian Tourism Conference, normally a place for old friends to catch up and share successes, became a Zoom-tastic affair, driven by nearly four thousand personal messages delivered via our conference app.
Through all those messages, and even beyond the conference, one thing remains constant, the ongoing support our indigenous communities continue to share with one another. From our AITC speaker track to our AIANTA webinar series to our new Case Studies in Tribal Agritourism, you all continuously step up to share your successes and your challenges with the greater community.
As the outlook for the revival of tourism continues to look bleak into the early part of next year, I am simultaneously energized and humbled by the generosity you all continue to display.
So many of you joined us for our regional breakout meeting sessions during AITC, to share the unique challenges facing the businesses in your regions and the ways in which you are adapting and responding.
If you’d like to see the results of those conversations, please download the PDF version of “Regional Meeting” brochure.
Despite your own challenges, your continued sharing so others may find success by following in your footsteps is so very inspiring.
We appreciate all you do, from keeping us informed on what’s happening in your communities to providing us with the tools we need to spread that message.
We are especially grateful to the individuals and organizations that have provided financial support to AIANTA.
So many of you have already renewed your AIANTA membership to secure one of our proprietary Jingle Dress thumb drives, we cannot tell you how grateful we are for your support. Your membership helps AIANTA chart its course in the coming years. Our “Friends of AIANTA” memberships start at just $150, if you’d like to get your own thumb drive. But hurry, we ordered a limited supply and we are starting to see those numbers dwindle.
There are many ways you can help support AIANTA.
If you aren’t in a financial position to join AIANTA or renew your membership at this time, we encourage you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help support AIANTA’s mission. Any amount is welcome.
AIANTA has also joined the Amazon Smile charitable giving campaign. By starting at smile.amazon.com and selecting the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association as your preferred charitable organization, before completing your holiday shopping (or your post-holiday sale browsing), Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of all your purchases to AIANTA.
Take a moment to sign up now, it’s an easy process and once you complete the sign up, Amazon will remember your information for all your future shopping sessions.
No matter how you plan to spend your holidays, whether in person with loved ones, or through a socially distanced electronic divide, know that we consider you all family and wish you the very best during the holiday season and throughout the New Year.
(See you later, Northern Paiute)
Sherry L. Rupert, Chief Executive Officer
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association