Making the Impossible Possible
Dear Members and Friends,

All of us have been a part of or witnessed making the impossible, possible. As I prepare the AIANTA team for their return to the office, and for the tasks that await us; renewal and revitalization of our Native Nations and communities through tourism. I am reminded of the Indian Relay and the strength and perseverance that is required. 

If you have ever participated in or watched an Indian Relay, you have witnessed a team of determined individuals making what is seemingly impossible, possible; teams relying on trust as they leap through the air, racing against time, gravity and one another – it is breathtakingly beautiful. I am amazed at how the scramble at the start of the race moves from a disorderly dance to a single, elegant ring around the track – all in motion, as it should be.  

Sometimes tourism feels like the last horse in the race, turned away from the start, as other priorities take precedence. We are all working across our Native Nations to keep our families, friends, nations and communities safe. It is an incredible, impossible effort that you have all made – and continue to make – possible.  

I know each of you is facing challenges new and old – and I want to make sure you have the tools needed to respond to those challenges. Many of you have been participating in our monthly webinars to learn more about resources available through federal agencies specific to cultural tourism development. This series will continue through August. We are in the process of building new training opportunities and want to tailor our approach to be more responsive to your needs right now. 

To hear and respond to the challenges you are facing, please take a moment to answer the questions on the very brief survey here specific to what your top three priorities/focus areas are for training as you respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 for your cultural tourism program, enterprise and/or business. 

Just a note, after this week’s message, we will be shifting back to AIANTA’s newsletter format. This shift will allow us to provide more content and information to you as we all move away from reaction to rebuilding.   

I am grateful to be in this race with all of you – rebuilding what now seems impossible, to make possible again.

Until We Meet Again,

Sherry L. Rupert, Chief Executive Officer
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)

Image: Doug Lindley, Idaho State Journal