Rebecca S. Martinez has been named Executive Director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), president Tina Osceola announced recently.
Martinez, most recently with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, will join the AIANTA staff May 3. As Executive Director, she will lead day-to-day operations, oversee fundraising, manage and grow the long-standing successful annual American Indian Tourism Conference held every September, and coordinate new initiatives and partnerships for the national organization.
“I’m excited to welcome Rebecca to AIANTA. We expect great things from her,” said Osceola. “Her passion, experience, relationships and drive will be key to taking AIANTA to the next level of national leadership in native tourism. Tourism is an important economic driver for Indian Country and gives us an opportunity to share our culture and our unique sovereign status with other peoples – both nationally and internationally.”
“Rebecca’s unique background and skills are tremendous assets to bring to the leadership of AIANTA,” said Edward Hall III, a longtime advisor and co-founder of AIANTA. “I believe we have the person who will help carry the opportunity of Indian Country tourism to the tribes and industry leaders.”
As the Capital Outlay Manager for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, Martinez was responsible for appropriations to hundreds of tribal projects and related programs. Previously, she served as the Director of Tourism for the Jemez Pueblo, where she raised over $800,000 to plan, design, construct and manage the Walatowa Visitor Center and was instrumental in establishing the Pueblo of Jemez Museum of History and Culture. She also was an instrumental leader in the establishment and designation of the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, assuring tribal participation in its planning and interpretation.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to use my previous experience in fundraising and project development to meet the challenge of growing AIANTA as a national tourism leader. I’ve watched this organization grow over the last 14 years and I admire the strides they’ve made and am enthusiastic about our goals for the future. I’m proud to have a chance to work with Tina and our board members who are committed to ensuring that Indian Country takes ownership and control of tourism to tell its own stories while reaping the benefits of the resulting jobs and revenue.”
Founded in 1999, AIANTA is a nonprofit association of tribes and tribal businesses that has assumed leadership in education, training and technical assistance for Indian Country tourism. By developing and implementing programs and providing opportunities, AIANTA helps tribes build for their future while sustaining and strengthening their cultural legacy.