UTTC Takes Lead in Tourism Development

Feb 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 12-3: How to Build a Dream, Tribal College News

United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in Bismarck, N.D., has received funding from the U.S. Labor Department to develop a two-year tribal tourism curriculum emphasizing tribal art, marketing, retail business development, and hospitality management. Graduates will earn an associate of applied science in tribal tourism, which is believed to be the first such program in the nation.

Additionally, the program will coordinate efforts to increase the capacity of tribes and individual entrepreneurs in tourism and economic development. Tribal tourism seminars will be conducted at each reservation in North Dakota. An office of American Indian Tourism will eventually be developed. The Labor Department awarded a $744,000 grant to UTTC for the Tribal Tourism Partnership Initiative. The North Dakota grant is part of more than $14 million awarded to colleges and universities on a competitive basis for partnership building and skill training.

North Dakota expects up to 5 million visitors for the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, according to John Beheler of UTTC. Many of these visitors may stop at the log cultural centers, which have been built on many of the tribal college campuses through the AIHEC Cultural Learning Center project. Beheler said this creates new opportunities for tribal artists. UTTC will help the artists learn pricing, packaging, promoting, and production, as well as website marketing to reach people worldwide. Many art pieces now stored at museums around the world will be brought home to be displayed at tribal college cultural centers, he said.

The UTTC interpretive center will include a permanent collection and a performing arts center. “We are ready to take the lead and improve the way our state does tourism. If we benefit, the state will benefit,” Beheler said. For 31 years, UTTC has been sponsoring an international pow wow, which he estimates brings more than $3 million into the Bismarck community.

A consortium of organizations is involved in the tourism project, including UTTC Workforce Investment Board, ND/SD Native American Business Development Center, Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association, Tribal Tourism Partnership Initiative, United Tribes Cultural Arts Board, United Tribes Indian Artist Guild, North Dakota State Parks, and the tribal colleges. For more information on the project, contact Andrew Rendon at UTTC 701/255-3285, ext. 410.

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