Planning for Cultural Tourism

Planning for Cultural Tourism
Monday, September 27, 2021; 10 am MDT

In 2008, Akwesasne leaders built their “Sharing the Spirit” imitative, which eventually paved the way for the formalized Akwesasne Cultural Tourism Strategic Action Plan. Today, implementation of the plan has led to a new tourism website, Akwesasne.travel, elevated tourism training for Akwesasne artisans, and increased awareness of Akwesasne culture and heritage. Join Penny Petters, Travel Industry Development Manager, Raeann Adams, Community Planner, and Gail McDonald,  Akwesasne Heritage Complex Project Developer, and the Native American Traveling College in discussing how the strategic plan was conceptualized and how it continues to guide Akwesasne’s tourism planning.



Penny Peters (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe), Development Manager, Akwesasne Cultural Tourism Initiative

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 works with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe as the Tourism Industry Development Manager on Akwesasne’s Cultural Tourism Initiative.


Gail McDonald (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe), Project Developer, Akwesasne Heritage Center

Gail McDonald works with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in Cultural Tourism developing the Akwesasne Heritage Center (library, museum, archives), Akwesasne Art Gallery and Skén:nen Park in Downtown Akwesasne. She brings years of experience in the fields of health, data governance, survey research, strategic project management and facility development. Gail has held senior positions serving her home community of Akwesasne and with First Nations organizations.


Raeann Adams (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe), Community Planner, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Office of Economic Development

Raeann Adams is the Community Planner for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Office of Economic Development and the Project Director of Administration for Native American’s (SEEDS) Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies, “Creating Akwesasne Tourism Industry Businesses & Jobs” project. Prior to joining the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and cultural tourism team, she served as a dynamic marketing manager, specializing in database analytics and direct marketing campaigns for the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.

Raeann is passionate about creating economic opportunities centered around cultural preservation and revitalization for her community. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from SUNY Canton, with a focus in economics. She is from the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, where she resides with her partner and is raising her two young sons.



Monica Poling, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, AIANTA

Monica Poling, PR & Media ManagerAfter 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 content development efforts. In her role as Marketing & Public Relations Manager for AIANTA, she works to bring awareness of Indian Country tourism. 

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