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Enriching Native American tourism

Chamber of Commerce wants to push Native American tourism is a better direction
Chamber of Commerce wants to push Native American tourism is a better direction(Kota/Kevn)
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 5:49 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Recently, a plan to both develop and manage Native American tourism was released and seeks to connect tribal leaders, state-level strategic partners, community leaders and other private sectors to enhance the Native American experience that’s currently lacking in South Dakota.

Ivan Sorbel, Director of the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce, says that Native American culture is something that draws a lot of people to the state.

“The Native American Experience ranks fairly high on visitors to South Dakota. Right now, in the state of South Dakota, we’re just not providing that experience,” says Sorbel. “We need more of this type of stuff to provide our visitors with what they’re looking for.”

With the vast amounts of indigenous history residing in the land, there’s a call for renovation and effort to be placed in the creation of worthy destinations that convey the story South Dakota has to tell.

Black Hills and Badlands Tourism CEO, Michelle Thomson, says there’s an opportunity to create a bigger tourism industry for South Dakota.

“I think that the Native American Tourism aspect for South Dakota is really an untapped market. The native American culture and history and all of their traditions are of huge interest to international visitors and domestic visitors,” says Thomson. “It’s a huge part of the culture across America, and of course, very, very important in South Dakota.”

The plan outlines challenges and key opportunities to showcase the ancestral lands and culture that are both historically and presently unique to South Dakota.

“There are nine different reservations in South Dakota. Native American culture is a big part of South Dakota’s history, and present day as well,” says Sorbel.

2021 is a hopeful year for Native American Tourism.

This year, a few new Native American tourist attractions are coming to the Black Hills, like the Oglala Living History Village.

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