Tourism Alliance unites North Dakota tribes

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 5:35 PM CST
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The North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance says it's the first in the nation to unite all the tribes of a state to work together on tourism. The new coalition will promote the culture and history of sovereign nations.

North Dakota's Native American tribes have a colorful history. A relatively new nonprofit intends to educate the world on their cultures and heritage.

"One of the main things is to promote our stories from our perspective to the world, and being able to work with partners throughout the state to promote tourism and create jobs," said Les Thomas, Native Tourism Alliance board chair.

Some of the tribes already had separate marketing departments. The alliance is helping unite them and partnering with the Department of Tourism.

"It's an opportunity for each tribe to showcase what they have and tell their own story and bring the people off the highways and interstates," said Darian Morsette, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tourism director.

One of the focuses for the group is showing the differences in the cultures and histories of the tribes.

"You want to make sure that the cultural sensitivity is there, the understanding is there, and the knowledge, the questions can be answered. We want to make sure that the people are comfortable in coming into North Dakota and saying there's Native Americans, where are they," said Jason Morsette, Tourism Alliance.

The group was given $5,000 from each of the tribes to help get started and other grants and donations will help operate the venture.

The group expects to market to some of the same areas the Department of Tourism targets, like northern Europe