The Office of Indian Economic Development and American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Award Recipients for FY24 NATIVE Act Capacity Building Grants

Five recipients across the U.S. will receive funding for capacity building support to enhance and expand cultural tourism efforts for Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations and Native Hawaiian Organizations

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (April 2, 2024) – The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the only national organization dedicated to advancing cultural tourism in Native Nations and communities across the United States, as a collaborative partner with the Office of Indian Economic Development (OIED), has made selections for the awardees of the OIED/AIANTA FY24 NATIVE Act Capacity Building Grants to enhance and expand cultural tourism efforts for Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations.

Representing all five OIED regions (Alaska, Northwest, Southern, Eastern and Hawai’i), five project proposals will receive funding from the grant initiative, which is designed to advance the intent and purpose of the NATIVE Act through supporting and investing in efforts to develop, grow and enhance cultural tourism programs and initiatives.

The selected project proposals are geographically and topically diverse and were chosen to develop capacity building efforts specific to cultural tourism development, growth or enhancement across Native Nations and communities. The Office of Indian Economic Development/AIANTA FY24 NATIVE Act Capacity Building Grantees are as follows:

●      Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, Alaska
Project Name:  Alaskan Cultural Tourism Capacity Building

●      Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce in Kyle, South Dakota
Project Name:  Oglala Lakota Living History Village

●      Shonto Economic Development Corporation in Shonto, Arizona
Project Name:  Enhancing Shonto’s Tourism Capacity Through Training to Tourism Personnel and Community Leadership

●      Akwesasne Travel – Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in Akwesasne, New York
Project Name:  Building Tourism Capacity in Akwesasne

●      Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association in Honolulu, Hawai’i
Project Name:  Revisioning Tourism through Cultural Training

“As the expert in Indigenous tourism and the only organization to advance cultural heritage tourism across our Native Nations and communities in the U.S., AIANTA is proud to have the capacity to create opportunity for the inclusion of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiians in the tourism industry,” said AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert. “We are excited to see these five recipients transform and strengthen their cultural tourism programs over the next few years.”

For more than 25 years, AIANTA has served as the national voice for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians engaged in cultural tourism, while providing technical assistance, training and capacity building to Native Nations and communities and Native-owned enterprises engaged in tourism, hospitality, and recreation.

            First introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in 2015, the Native American Tourism & Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act gained widespread bi-partisan support before being signed into law in 2016. The NATIVE Act, or Public Law 114-221, serves to establish a more inclusive national travel and tourism strategy and has the potential to deliver significant benefits for tribes, including jobs creation, elevated living standards and expanded economic opportunities. In 2019, AIANTA was designated a coordinating partner, and charged with fulfillment of section 4353(d) of the Act, which calls for an “organization or entity to serve as a facilitator between the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce and the Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations” in order to “identify areas where technical assistance is needed through consultations” and to “provide a means for the delivery of technical assistance.” To learn more about the NATIVE Act, visit

Native Nations and communities who are looking to start or expand their cultural tourism footprint can find resources at and visitors interested in learning more about Native culture can visit

Media Contact:
Liz Slobodian  

Photo Credit: AIANTA // Caption: Alaska Native Heritage Center