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News Release

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Office of Economic Development (OED) announced today that it was awarded a two-year grant in the amount of $857,119 in federal funding for the Akwesasne Tourism Business Support Project. The funding was made available under the FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Act through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Indigenous Communities Program.

“We’re proud that this grant will enable our Akwesasne Tourism Team to continue supporting new and existing tourism business development through training, marketing, and job creation,” shared Office of Economic Development Community Planner Raeann Adams. Adams noted, “The project will fund 3 new full-time positions under tourism to develop new cultural experiences, provide more business support to tour partners, and to engage with regional partners and the travel-trade industry.”

In November 2016, Akwesasne Tourism received a five-year grant totaling $2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Native Americans to help develop a cultural tourism industry in the Akwesasne community. The grant’s expiration was extended to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but during that time the Office of Economic Development has successfully launched Akwesasne Travel, which currently features three immersive cultural tours hosted by community experts who help share Akwesasne’s history, culture, art, and local cuisine.

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“Our region is rich in culture and history and this grant will allow us to continue sharing these vibrant community resources by investing in local business development and building our capacity within Akwesasne Travel,” stated Office of Economic Development Division Director James Lazore. Lazore added, “Niawen:kowa/Thank you very much to Community Planner Raeann Adams for submitting the grant proposal; as well as to the entire Akwesasne Tourism Team of Penny Peters, LaToya Rourke, and Gail McDonald for helping bring cultural tourism to life in our community.”

The Akwesasne Tourism Business Support Project will provide certifications and training as it works towards offering three to four new cultural experiences each year, while strengthening current tours. It will include a recruitment campaign to gain local partners; helping guide them from development to marketing their business offerings to support their sustainability. A curriculum will also be developed for individual tour guides to work as independent contractors.

“The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s application review process is highly competitive, so being selected for this federal grant award is a clear indication that Akwesasne Tourism has made impressive strides and is continuing to grow,” shared Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Executive Director Tsiorasa Barreiro. Barreiro added, “The grant award is the culmination of the Tourism Team’s efforts to help support the Akwesasne Business Community, local artisans, and cultural resource organizations; such as the Akwesasne Cultural Center & Museum and the Native North American Travelling College.”

To learn more about the unique cultural experiences offered by Akwesasne Tourism, please call (518) 358-4238, email info@akwesasne.travel, or visit the Akwesasne Travel website at https://akwesasne.travel/.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

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