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‘South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance’ hopes to showcase indigenous culture in state’s tourism program

George Washington University’s Tourism Studies department, tribal leaders, and the South Dakota...
George Washington University’s Tourism Studies department, tribal leaders, and the South Dakota Department of Tourism is coming together to form the South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance.(KEVN)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 4:52 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Cultural landmarks surrounding local indigenous tribes are an integral part of the history of South Dakota. There are some who say, however, that they’re often overlooked in the state’s tourism campaign. A new collaboration between the state tourism department and tribal leaders is about to try to change that.

George Washington University’s Tourism Studies department, tribal leaders, and the South Dakota Department of Tourism is coming together to form the South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance. On Thursday, they put forward a 5-year plan to implement indigenous culture into the state’s tourism program.

Tribal historian and state legislator Tamara St. John said that this plan is an important step forward for tribal sovereignty and pride in South Dakota.

“I think it’s one of the most pro-sovereignty things that a tribe can do, to take control of their cultural history and telling their stories, and defining their own narrative, and telling what they’d like to share with the world,” St. John said.

Some of the goals for the alliance are to increase awareness of Native tourism offerings and prepare tribal communities for the tourism influx.

Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen said that his department looks forward to promoting what tribal lands have to offer and adds that the state’s history is influenced by the history of the Great Sioux Nation

“It’s an untapped gem for us, so the challenge for us now is to lay out this game plan and share that story with visitors, not only from across America but globally,” Hagen said.

Representatives from the offices of Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, and Congressman Dusty Johnson were present at the unveiling of the plan to give their support.

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