AIANTA, National Trails Intermountain Region announce partnership
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In early December, the nonprofit American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service, National Trails Intermountain Region (NTIR).
The agreement calls for increased collaboration in enhancing public education, awareness and heritage tourism interest related to the nine National Historic Trails and the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program administered by NTIR.
“AIANTA is excited to enter into this partnership with NTIR, which will expand collaboration opportunities while also enriching the education and cultural exchange among tribes and national trails,” said AIANTA Executive Director Camille Ferguson. “Building these types of partnerships help to grow and enhance tourism while supporting long-term economic viability.”
The agreement will support authentic, first-voice interpretation and representation of tribal people in information and programming produced for the public, while enhancing the visitor experience on National Historic Trails through development of interpretive waysides, digital applications, travel guides and other interpretive media.
Both partners look forward to bringing awareness to the fact that the nine National Historic Trails and Route 66 potentially affect approximately 250 tribal nations, and working on mutually beneficial projects to support further collaboration.
“AIANTA is a welcome complement to the collaborative work the National Trails Intermountain Region-National Park Service already does. We’re eager to continue to build our partnership with AIANTA by embracing the heritage and traditions tribal communities affiliated with our national historic trails are able to share,” said National Trails Superintendent Aaron Mahr.
In 2016, the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act was signed into law, requiring the Departments of Commerce, the Interior and other federal agencies with recreational travel or tourism functions to update their management plans and tourism initiatives to include Indian tribes, tribal organizations and Native Hawaiian organizations.
AIANTA and the NTIR are both looking forward to working toward implementation of the NATIVE Act and pursuing its goals with this new partnership.
The phrase “Indian Education” itself invokes generations of federal legislation aimed to assimilate via education. Modern day, the Title VI Indian Education Program administered by the Bureau of Indian Education provides federal funds to various educational institutions of students enrolled in federally recognized tribes.