Shapiro announces ‘Indigenous Peoples Cultural and Heritage Initiative’

Pennsylvania. A grant will help develop experiences based on the indigenous people of the area.

| 18 Oct 2023 | 04:07

The Shapiro administration recently announced that the Pennsylvania Tourism Office had been awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Area planning grant to develop what described as “experiences based on indigenous heritage across the Commonwealth.”

Through a partnership with the Lehigh University Institute for Indigenous Studies and members of federally recognized tribal nations, the tourism office will utilize the grant to develop, and promote experiences that share the stories, history, and culture of the Indigenous peoples originally from Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is steeped in indigenous history and we look forward to bringing, experiences to Pennsylvania for people to engage with and learn about this history,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary of tourism at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “We are incredibly proud to be launching this project, which is the start of a long journey to uplift the stories and culture of the indigenous nations that resided in Pennsylvania. This project will have so many benefits, from educating visitors from near and far about our indigenous history to strengthening the economies of ARC counties. Most importantly, this project is designed to allow citizens of the federally recognized Indian nations which originated here to be the storytellers and ensure we are presenting their history and culture in an authentic and appropriate way.”

The ARC grant provides funding for the tourism office to work with American Indian scholars and tribal representatives chosen by the federally recognized indigenous nations originally from Pennsylvania. Collaboratively, they will discuss and develop a comprehensive plan highlighting locations, narratives, and resources of interest relating to indigenous culture and history. According to the announcement, this project will allow tribal nations the opportunity to direct how they would like their stories to be told. The final plan would then be executed into experiences for visitor engagement during additional phases of this project.