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Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Hosts American Indian Tourism Conference

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The 13th annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) is will go from Sept 11-14 at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort, located near Fountain Hills, Arizona. AITC, sponsored by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), is the premier education and networking venue for tribal tourism professionals. This year’s theme is Tribal Tourism: An Economic Force in Indian Country, stated an AIANTA press release.

“Tribal tourism is growing despite the economic downturn because we continue to reach out and educate national and international tourism markets about the distinct and diverse experiences offered by tribal destinations,” said AIANTA President Tina Osceola (Seminole Tribe of Florida) in the press release. “We invite tribal tourism programs and businesses to share their experiences at our conference—so together we can build on the many opportunities and meet the challenges of welcoming more visitors while preserving our cultures.” She added: “We love being back in Arizona for the first conference since 2003, when AITC was held at Gila River Indian Community.”

The conference program will be opened by AIANTA President Osceola on Tuesday morning with the Fort McDowell Veterans Color Guard. "There will be a tribal leaders round table discussion with Margo Gray-Proctor, Chairwoman of NCAIED and Christopher James, Assistant Administrator, Office of Native American Affairs, U.S. Small Business Administration, followed by a keynote address from Chairman Tex Hall, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes and Scott Russell, Secretary, Crow “Apsáalooke” Nation," the press release stated.

The topic at the Tuesday luncheon will be Positioning Indian Country with 21st Century Media. The keynote speakers will be Len Sanderson of the Washington, D.C. public relations firm Sanderson Strategies Group and Valerie Taliman, West Coast Editor of Indian Country Today. "Together, Len and Valerie have more than 50 years’ experience in branding and positioning clients, campaigns and strategies within the media marketplace," the release stated.

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A variety of topics will be covered in breakout sessions, including social and traditional media in promoting tribal tourism, indigenous foods, international tourism development and markets, building tourism businesses and cultural and intellectual properties.

For more information about AIANTA go to

Or visit their AITC website at