Visit California has launched a dynamic new content experience, Visit Native California, designed to showcase the state’s Native American communities within a tourism context. The program was first announced in September at the site of the future Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs. The content hub debuted on March 7, 2023.
“Visit California is honored to create a platform that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Native Americans who have called this place home for thousands of years,” Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta said. “We’re committed to partnering with California’s tribes and creating spaces to uplift and honor their voices, communities, and cultures.”
The articles, photos, videos, podcasts, and social media posts that comprise this series will cover a wide range of Native American experiences available to travelers, from museums and cultural centers to Pow Wows to guided adventure tours. As part of this initiative, Visit California is forging connections with the state’s 109 federally recognized tribes and inviting them to share their stories with travelers looking for unique experiences within the Golden State.
“As the state with the highest population of Native Americans, and one of the nation’s leading tourism destinations, California is poised to drastically boost national Native tourism promotion and interest with this undertaking,” said Sherry Rupert, CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA). “We’ve seen the economic benefits that come from uniting under a common banner, but more importantly we see the power of cultural tourism to support preservation and perpetuation of our culture. This is a tremendous opportunity for California’s tribes.”
With traditional homelands stretching from the redwood forests in the north to the desert along the Mexican border, Native American culture in California is both abundant and diverse. While many travelers are familiar with the beautiful resorts and casinos operated by the tribes, they may not be aware of the myriad ways to experience both California’s Indian past and the dynamic, modern lives of the state’s Native American peoples.
The Visit Native California content series aims to bridge that gap. At launch, the hub spotlights tribal tourism experiences currently available to travelers. Visit California also partnered with The Outbound Collective, an organization that includes a diverse community of outdoor-focused creators, to create a custom video series that showcases Native tourism experiences. Outbound tapped a diverse creative team that includes Lauren Begay, a California-based Native rising filmmaker who works for MTV’s Social Impact team and Urban Native Era, and Sanjana Sekhar, an Indian-American filmmaker and regenerative communicator.
In the coming months, Visit Native California will showcase prominent individuals within the state’s Native American communities—including artists, authors, culinary innovators, and more. After that, a broad collection of tribal profiles, crafted collaboratively with members of each Nation, will round out the Native California platform.
Throughout this ongoing process, Visit California is placing special emphasis on handing the microphone to Native Americans and empowering them to tell their stories on their terms. Visit California will also strive to be a key nexus point for anybody seeking more information about Native American tourism experiences, providing links to additional resources ranging from the AIANTA homepage to this fascinating interactive map of tribal lands.
The Visit Native California content series is a work in progress and we encourage all feedback, including notes about spelling discrepancies, corrections, clarifications, and added context. We also want to hear your story ideas for this ongoing project. Please send all correspondence to email@example.com.