News & Updates

New Steering Group to Guide AIANTA & Leave No Trace Education Efforts

Michael Taylor - November 4, 2021

Fort McDowell, AZ — Public Lands, which are the ancestral homelands of America’s indigenous nations, are not the only areas experiencing the negative impacts of visitation and recreation. Visitation rates to Indigenous communities and destinations (including Tribal Lands) have also skyrocketed in the last few years as more and more people venture outdoors for vacation and recreation. In response, a new national steering group made up of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian community members now aims to approach visitation and recreation impacts being experienced by Indigenous communities.

“The impacts have been large to our communities and places and spaces where we take people,” said Sherry Rupert, President and CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), during her keynote at last month’s 23rd  Annual American Indian Tourism Conference. “People don’t always understand the difference between Tribal Lands and Public Lands. People don’t understand what we mean by respect for our lands and how we steward our lands and why that is so important. Leave No Trace’s seven guiding principles align very closely with our values as Native People.”

Under the guidance of the new inter-tribal steering committee, AIANTA and the Leave No Trace will be developing education messaging campaigns and resources that aim to increase visitor awareness of tribal lands and Indigenous communities as a first step toward reducing avoidable impacts to land, water and cultural heritage resources.

The first of two campaigns, as well as a pilot education project with AIANTA’s tribal members and tribal enterprises will launch in 2022.


For nearly two decades, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has served as the national center for providing tourism and recreational travel technical assistance, training and capacity building to American Indian nations. AIANTA is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit association of Native American tribes and tribal businesses and was incorporated in 2002 to advance Indian Country tourism. AIANTA’s mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values.


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