From left: Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Michael Platt and American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Executive Director Camille Ferguson sign a memorandum of understanding at the 20th annual AIANTA conference at Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico on September 18, 2018. Photo: Office of Public Affairs - Indian Affairs

American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association opens conference

The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) is hosting its 20th annual conference in New Mexico this week.

Attendees heard from a big name at their session on Tuesday. Tara Sweeney, the recently-installed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, signed a memorandum of understanding between the organization, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce in order to promote tourism opportunities for the first Americans.

“I congratulate AIANTA on its 20th anniversary of helping bring the benefits of tourism to Indian Country,” Sweeney said in a press release.

The agreement was required by the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act, also known as the NATIVE Act. The 2016 law requires federal agencies to update their existing management plans and tourism strategies to include tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

“We are delighted to be working with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce to formalize our long-standing relationships and strengthens our ability to enhance and grow tribal tourism,” said Camille Ferguson, the executive director of AIANTA. “The signing of this memorandum of understanding opens the door and removes barriers for future collaborations and outreach to tribes.”

AIANTA's conference, being held at the Isleta Resort Casino on the Pueblo of Isleta, concludes on Thursday.

Read More on the Story
Tribal tourism (The Albuquerque Journal September 18, 2018)

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