House Bill Introduced to Support Tourism and Empower Native Communities

Published September 13, 2015

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma)

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma)

WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) introduced a bill on Thursday, September 10, 2015, to create jobs and support businesses in Native American communities. The bill, the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act (H.R. 3477) integrates Native American tourism with federal United States tourism initiatives to promote the cultural assets of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

“Native American culture is known and celebrated among Oklahomans, and it is important that we share our heritage with people from all over the world,” said Mullin, a member of the Cherokee Nation and one of two Native Americans currently serving in the United States Congress. “Integrating Native American tourism with federal tourism efforts will bring great benefits to native communities in Oklahoma and across the country.”

H.R. 3477 is the U.S. House of Representatives companion bill to S. 1579, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on June 16, 2015.

“I want to thank Congressman Markwayne Mullin for his leadership and support of the NATIVE Act,” said Schatz. “A robust tourism industry strengthens our global and local economies, and helps creates jobs and small businesses. In Hawai‘i, the ability to share our traditions and culture with travelers supports a healthy tourism industry.  This bipartisan legislation will help lift our native communities and create a vehicle for collaborative and strategic tourism planning with cultural awareness and sustainability at the forefront.”

The NATIVE Act requires any federal agency with a recreational travel and tourism function to include tribal organizations in its national tourism initiatives. The bill also facilitates technical assistance and training for native communities to help build sustainable tourism capacity and infrastructure.

“I came to Congress to advance policies that will help Oklahoma communities create jobs,” Mullin added. “The NATIVE Act is a common-sense bill that does both of these things.”

H.R. 3477 has received support from the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA).

“AIANTA applauds the leadership of Congressman Markwayne Mullin for the introduction of the NATIVE Act in the House,” said Sherry Rupert, AIANTA board president. “AIANTA strongly supports the goals of the NATIVE Act, because it will ensure that tribes are included in existing federal tourism programs and present opportunities to build capacity and infrastructure in Native communities, advance economic development, and create new jobs.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committees on Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce, and Administration for further consideration.

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