Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Awarded $857,119 For Tourism Support Project
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Office of Economic Development (OED) announced today that it was awarded a two-year grant in the amount of $857,119 in federal funding for the Akwesasne Tourism Business Support Project. The funding was made available under the FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Act through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Indigenous Communities Program.
“We’re proud that this grant will enable our Akwesasne Tourism Team to continue supporting new and existing tourism business development through training, marketing, and job creation,” shared OED Community Planner Raeann Adams. Adams noted, “The project will fund 3 new full-time positions under tourism to develop new cultural experiences, provide more business support to tour partners, and to engage with regional partners and the travel-trade industry.”
In November 2016, Akwesasne Tourism received a five-year grant totaling $2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Native Americans to help develop a cultural tourism industry in the Akwesasne community. The grant’s expiration was extended to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but during that time OED has successfully launched Akwesasne Travel, which currently features three immersive cultural tours hosted by community experts who help share Akwesasne’s history, culture, art, and local cuisine.
“Our region is rich in culture and history and this grant will allow us to continue sharing these vibrant community resources by investing in local business development and building our capacity within Akwesasne Travel,” stated OED Division Director James Lazore. Lazore added, “Niawen:kowa/Thank you very much to Community Planner Raeann Adams for submitting the grant proposal; as well as to the entire Akwesasne Tourism Team of Penny Peters, LaToya Rourke, and Gail McDonald for helping bring cultural tourism to life in our community.”
The Akwesasne Tourism Business Support Project will provide certifications and training as it works towards offering 3 to 4 new cultural experiences each year, while strengthening current tours. It will include a recruitment campaign to gain local partners; helping guide them from development to marketing their business offerings to support their sustainability. A curriculum will also be developed for individual tour guides to work as independent contractors.