Travel groups work to increase foreign tourism to Northwoods native communities // WJFW TV-12, WJFWDT 12.1 and Newswatch 12
CRANDON – The Northwoods needs tourists to visit throughout the year and boost the local economy. People from nearby states often come to the area to enjoy seasonal events and attractions.
People from other countries are also starting to visit more and it’s the history of native tribes they look forward to seeing most.
A group of Italian tourists visited the Northwoods to experience a culture they’ve only heard about. Some of those tourists are journalists who will share their experiences once they return home.
Another visitor Newswatch 12 spoke to works for the U.S. Consulate General in Italy. She says it’s her job to educate people on what native communities have to offer.
“We are trying to teach the Italian visitors to experience this area and learn that Native American [sic] is not what we watch in the movies, it’s completely different,” said Luisa Salomoni, a commercial specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The tourists visited tribal museums and attended the Sokaogon Chippewa Strawberry Moon Powwow, among other attractions. They ate traditional foods like wild rice and toured historic landmarks like the Dinesen Log Cabin in Crandon. The house was originally built in the 1860s and fully restored in 2005 by the Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Trip organizers say they want people all over the world to know Native American communities are more than just casinos.
“Getting to tell our stories the way we know it should be told,” said Cheyenne Landru, the vice chairwoman of Native American Tourism of Wisconsin.
The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association plans culture tourism trips in partnership with Brand USA.
They take people to native communities across the nation including those in the Southwest and Alaska, but they say the Northwoods is unique because there are different native tribes in such close proximity.