Indian leader urges tribes to push native tourism

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A Native American leader from Nevada recently appointed to the U.S. Commerce Department’s national tourism advisory board says tribes need to learn more about how to tap into the interest travelers have shown in American Indian heritage and the culture and history of the West.

“There’s a segment of the market that’s really interested in a cultural experience,” Sherry Rupert, the executive director of the Nevada State Indian Commission, told the Nevada Appeal.

“That’s something we, as Native Americans, can offer. There’s nothing like it in the world. Our culture is intact, and our traditions are alive,” said Rupert, an American Indian of Paiute and Washoe descent.

U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank recently appointed Rupert as one of six new members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. She’s also the vice president of the Albuquerque-based American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, which nominated her for the post.

Blank said Rupert was an important addition in the interest of better diversifying the advisory board’s point of view. She’s the lone Native American on the board.

“These new members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, who come from different regions and industry sub-sectors, will play a valuable role as we work to help maintain the momentum that’s currently underway,” Blank said.

The tourism board was established in 2003 to serve as the advisory body to the secretary of commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the U.S. Its members represent a cross-section of the industry, including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms.

“The travel and tourism industry is so important to our nation’s economy and important to many of our tribal communities,” Rupert said. “This opportunity is a huge step forward for Indian Country. Indian Country now has a seat at the table.”

Rupert said she’s pushing for increased attention to collecting data on the demographics, interests and habits of visitors to tribal lands, museums and other landmarks.

“I want to know who is traveling to the Native communities and what they are doing,” she said. She said that information should help tribal communities better understand what domestic and international travelers are looking for so they can better match their attractions and destinations.

“As Native people, this is our life,” she said. “It’s just how we live. Sometimes, we think others won’t be interested.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Robots on Wall Street: Slow-footed regulators lose ground

Watchdogs have to figure out how to check computers running lightening-fast algorithms.

US budget deficit hits $666B, an $80B spike for the year

The deficit issue has largely fallen in prominence in Washington in recent years.

Most Read