The U.S. Forest Service and American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Select Recipients for FY 23 NATIVE Act Grants

Six recipients across the U.S. will receive funding for tourism infrastructure and capacity building in Native American communities

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (January 31, 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 U.S. Forest Service, has made its selection for the awardees of the U.S. Forest Service/AIANTA NATIVE Act Grants for FY23. Six project proposals will receive NATIVE Act funding support from the U.S. Forest Service, to aid their efforts to enhance cultural tourism and recreation for the advancement of Native American communities.

 In 2018, AIANTA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Forest Service to collaborate on NATIVE Act activities, and, subsequently, in 2022 entered into a partnership agreement to distribute NATIVE Act Grant funding. The Request for Grant Proposals solicited applications from Tribal Nations, Tribal Enterprises and native nonprofits that border and/or have historic ties to U.S. Forest Service managed lands and regions.

The selected project proposals are geographically and topically diverse and were chosen to develop infrastructure and/or technical assistance in Native American communities within a two-year time span. the U.S. Forest Service/AIANTA NATIVE Act Grantees are as follows:

●      Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository in Kodiak, Alaska

Grant Award:  $143,460

Project Name:  Keneq—Fire Gallery: Sharing Our Living Traditions

●      Bay Mills Indian Community in Bimley, Michigan

Grant Award:  $129,000

Project Name:  Shingabawassin “Spirit Stone Trail” Initiative

●      Chief Joseph Foundation in Lapwai, Idaho

Grant Amount:  $240,565

Project Name:  Chief Joseph Foundation’s Equestrian Trails Project for Cultural Heritage Tourism and Local Economic Development on the Nez Perce Reservation and Surrounding Community in North Central Idaho

●      Organized Village of Kasaan in Kasaan, Alaska

Grant Award:  $150,000

Project Name:  Kasaan Tourism Improvement Project

●      Pit River Tribe KWAHN Corporation in Burney, California

Grant Award:  $175,000
Project Name:  4 Corners Property Cultural Tourism Master Planning

●      Snoqualmie Indian Tribe in Snoqualmie, Washington

Grant Award:  $250,000
Project Name:  Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement Capacity Investmen

“It’s an honor to recognize these six deserving entities and projects across our diverse Native Nations and communities and support their efforts to enhance cultural tourism and recreation both on and off U.S. Forest Service lands,” said Toby Bloom, National Program Manager for Travel, Tourism and Interpretation, U.S. Forest Service. “We are thrilled to partner with AIANTA, the cultural tourism leader in the United States, to award the U.S. Forest Service/AIANTA NATIVE Act Grants, as we work together to expand more inclusive tourism opportunities with these organizations.”

For more than 25 years, AIANTA has served as the national voice for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian nations 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.

“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 six recipients transform and strengthen their cultural tourism programs over the next few years.”

            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

Tribes 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