Through hard work and effort, the North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance (NDNTA) received a major five-year grant from the Bush Foundation.

The grant has allowed NDNTA to hire staff which expands the structure of the organization. NDNTA President Darian Morsette says it allows the organization to transition from a voluntary board to a governance board.

“There is a lot hard work and major opportunities that are going to come with this. And, we’re also here on a First Nations Development Grant for strategic planning,” explained North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance President Darian Morsette.

In April, NDNTA won the Trailblazer Award for Tourism Innovation at the 2022 North Dakota Travel Industry Conference in Grand Forks. NDNTA Vice President Les Thomas says the organization is getting recognition for the work they have done over the last five years to develop separate tourism packages for each tribal nation in North Dakota.

In partnership with North Dakota Tourism, NDNTA is plugging state tourism around the world. There is a growing interest in authentic Native American culture and history from travelers as far as England and Germany.

“We want to tell our true stories and our culture to world travelers. So, each reservation or nation is developing and enhancing their tourism departments. Their tourism packages. And, we want to become more family-friendly points of destination, so developing these amenities is very important for us,” explained North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance Vice President Les Thomas.

Darian Morsette represented tourism for The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation. Les Thomas represents The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and made history by being the first Native American International Peace Garden board member.