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Best tribal destinations recognized at American Indian Tourism Conference

TULSA, Okla. — The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) honored tribal destinations and leaders in the tourism industry in September at the Enough Good People Awards Gala & Silent Auction during the 21st annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Each year, AIANTA, as the national organization representing the tribal hospitality and tourism industry, recognizes the best of Indian Country travel and tourism in three categories, with the Enough Good People Industry Awards.

The 2019 Tribal Destination of the Year was awarded to the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort in Worley, Idaho. Coeur d’Alene’s tribal history and way of life, its people, tribal language, beadwork, traditional songs/dance, storytelling and artwork are all elements featured throughout the resort.

The Best Cultural Heritage Experience was awarded to the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Center features six recreated winter dwellings, which represent the 11 different cultural groups of Alaska where visitors can explore the history and cultural heritage of Alaska Native peoples.

The Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, received the Excellence in Customer Service award. The Resort has built an “I Respond & Care” program, establishing a new mission, vision and core values and series of workshops.

Along with the Industry Awards, AIANTA has also been honoring tribal tourism leaders from across the country with the Enough Good People Director’s Award since 2012.

This year, AIANTA presented Lisa Gassman, from the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, with the prestigious award, recognizing her deep commitment to the preservation and sharing of American Indian culture through tourism.

Proceeds raised from the event are used to support AIANTA’s scholarship program, which awards financial aid to Native American students interested in pursuing careers in the hospitality and tourism industry and culinary arts.