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 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six tribes are getting a boost to enhance their cultural tourism and recreation from The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA).

AIANTA, a national organization that works to advance cultural tourism in Native Nations and communities across Indian Country, along with the U.S. Forest Service, as a collaborative partner, last month announced awardees of the U.S. Forest Service/AIANTA NATIVE Act Grants for fiscal year 2022. Of 21 applicants, six project proposals were selected to receive NATIVE Act funding support from the U.S. Forest Service, to aid their efforts to establish robust cultural tourism. 

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.

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The selected project proposals were chosen to develop infrastructure and/or technical assistance in Native American communities within a two-year time span.

“Our ultimate goal is to work with tribes to enhance representation and help strengthen the tourism and recreation efforts of Tribal Nations both on and off U.S. Forest Service lands,” Toby Bloom, National Program Manager for Travel, Tourism and Interpretation, U.S. Forest Service, said in a statement. “The U.S. Forest Service is thrilled to partner with AIANTA, the cultural tourism leader in the United States, as we work together to expand more diverse and inclusive tourism opportunities with these organizations.”

Awardees include:

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Sequim, Washington 
Grant Award: $147,000 
Project Name: Enhance Tourism by Designing, Fabricating, and Installing Outdoor Exhibits Interpreting Interconnections between S’Klallam Cultural Traditions and Olympic National Forest’s Dungeness Watershed Resources

Metlakatla Indian Community Tourism Department in Metlakatla, Alaska
Grant Award: 
Project Name: Gyiik Galdzox (Camp Hemlock) and Nature Trails Renovation

Pueblo of Picuris in Penasco, New Mexico
Grant Amount: $250,000
Project Name:Celebrating, Protecting and Sharing the History of Picuris Pueblo through Our Voices

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Grant Award:
Project Name:Mulberry River Cane Restoration Project

La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians in Pauma Valley, California
Grant Award:
Project Name: La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians Kíicha Heritage Immersion Tours/Camping Experience

Jemez Community Development Corporation (DBA Jemez Enterprises) in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico
Grant Award:
Project Name: Red Rocks Interpretive Trails