NATIVE Act Becomes Law

September 27, 2016, 8:19 AM HST · Updated September 27, 8:23 AM
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President Barack Obama. White House image.

President Barack Obama. White House image.

President Barack Obama signed the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act into law this week.

The bipartisan legislation introduced by US Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and John Thune (R-S.D.) enhances and integrates native tourism, empowers native communities and expands the unique cultural tourism opportunities in the US.

“I’m incredibly proud to have worked with our native communities on this legislation and I’m pleased the president has signed it into law,” said Sen. Schatz. “This new law gives our native communities a real opportunity to grow their local economy and share their history and culture with the rest of the world.”

The NATIVE Act requires federal agencies that have tourism assets and responsibilities to include native organizations and tribes in national tourism planning and efforts. The law will also provide Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native and American Indian communities with access to resources, and technical assistance needed in order to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel, and support tourism infrastructure and capacity, spur economic development and create good jobs.

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Cosponsors of the act include US Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

The NATIVE Act is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders which includes the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly, US Travel Association, American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, Southeast Tourism Society, Western States Tourism Policy Council, National Congress of American Indians, Alaska Federation of Natives and the Native Enterprise Initiative of the US Chamber of Commerce.

In the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led companion legislation.

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