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Native Pathways to Education
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Athabascan RavenTribal Tourism Development:
A Handbook for Planners


Tourism in Native communities is an issue worth considering. Whether your tribe is directly involved in the tourism industry or simply sharing space with it, tourism affects us all. This planner was created to address some of the issues surrounding tourism development in and around Native communities.

Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to address local tourism issues and to develop infrastructure for ecotourism development and management in the two Alaskan Villages of Mentasta and Chistochina. This manual was created to document the tourism development process that we went through and to help other tribes begin the process.

Courtesy of Joan Herrmann

This handbook has general information and a list of resources that are helpful for anyone considering tourism. It should be particularly useful for a planner who is trying to lead a group effort towards community tourism development.

Courtesy of Wilson Justin

The residents of Mentasta and Chistochina wish to preserve and maintain the quality of life in their communities. By becoming active participants in the local tourism trade, communities can influence and benefit from tourist interactions and choices.

Tourism has become a viable economic opportunity for the Chistochina community. Residents are considering tourism for several reasons. One reason, and perhaps the most prominent, is that thousands of people travel through Chistochina throughout the summer months. The local highway literally runs through the center of the community. By becoming active participants in the visitor industry, the community has more control over the impacts upon them and a greater ability to meet visitors needs.

Mentasta is off the main highway and does not receive a large volume of traffic through the community. The 200-300 visitors (primarily out of state tourists and Alaskan hunters) that come to the Village each year have had a negative impact on the local environment and people. The community has not had a system in place for managing visitors and thus has had very little control over how the visitors impact the community. Mentasta is currently working to educate the visitors and local businesses in an effort to manage the impact in a positive direction.

Best wishes to you and your community. Getting people together to address community development issues is a challenging and rewarding effort. It has been said that in this day and age that “no place stays special by accident”: By working together to preserve our communities, the special places on this earth will continue to sustain and provide enjoyment to future generations. GOOD LUCK


This material is based upon work supported by the Environmental Protection Agency Grant No. GA-97002201-1. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Environmental Protection Agency.



Part 1

  1. General Tourism Development
  2. Eco-Tourism
  3. Cultural Tourism and Cultural Interpretation
  4. Tourism With Integrity

Part 2

  1. Strategies For Involving The Whole Community
  2. Workshops
    Sample Workshop Agendas
  3. Conducting Surveys
  4. Follow-up
  5. Identify Your Core Group

Part 3

  1. Identify Where Your Community Is In The Tourism Development Process
  2. What Do You Do If The Community Doesn't Want Tourism?
  3. Tourism Management
  4. Marketing
  5. Encouraging Good Relations Between Local Businesses
  6. Supporting Local Business Development
  7. Community Beautification


Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified September 19, 2006