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Indian Country Tourism Highlighted at Nez Perce Economic Convening & Tradeshow

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Albuquerque, New Mexico (September 8, 2014) – At the Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises Economic Convening in Lewiston, Idaho, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) Executive Director Camille Ferguson presented the economic development opportunities and impacts of Indian Country tourism.

Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises is holding the annual economic convening and tradeshow, “Resiliency, Reinvention, & Renewal,” today and tomorrow at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center in Idaho. At the economic convening, attendees and presenters will discuss important issues to economic growth within the Nez Perce reservation and its communities serving Tribal members. The goal of the convening is to get people more involved in shaping the future of the economic growth of the Nez Perce Tribe.

New to the program this year, is the inclusion of the economic impact of the tourism industry to American Indian Tribes and communities.

Ferguson, joining a panel of experts, presented to the national audience about Indian Country tourism, elaborating on the opportunities it presents for significant economic growth to tribal and rural communities and businesses, especially within the international market.

Ferguson’s presentation expanded on the direct spending and growth potential of international travelers to the U.S. “Out of 67 million visitors to the U.S. in 2012, about five percent, or 3.35 million, visited Indian Country destinations,” explained Ferguson.

“Tourism is one of the best ways for our Native Nations to preserve and share their traditions and history while also advancing economic development in established and rural communities,” said Ferguson. “Our goal at AIANTA is to inspire tribes across the six regions of Indian Country to really focus on their indigenous traditions and incorporate them into a sustainable tourism program.”

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“No one can tell the stories of Native America like American Indians can, which is why it is critical for AIANTA to educate tribes on the economic development benefits of telling their stories through tourism platforms,” Ferguson added.

Keynote speakers at the September 8-9 convening include Craig Nolte, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Jill Conrad, DOE-Hanford.

Also on the panel, “Economic Development Projects for the Future,” is Lilly Kauffman, Economic Development Planner, Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises and Cass Kipp, Natural Resources Planner, Nez Perce equestrian Project & Horse Activity Center.

Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises will also present sessions offering expert and dynamic presenters to educate attendees on various economic development opportunities. Session and speaker topics this year include working through diversity procurement and partnerships; progress of Native CDFIs and UCC codes in Indian Country; professional technical education; small business workforce development and more. 

An educational workshop was also offered focusing on the Small Business Association (SBA) 8(a) certification process and strategies for organizational development of a Tribal 8(a).

To get involved in AIANTA’s international tourism opportunities, contact the AIANTA staff at

To learn more about Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises and the Economic Convening and Tradeshow, visit