Business Diversification

As the Tribes Diversify Their Economic Engines, Their Positive Effect on Oklahoma Grows Even Stronger

Unlike corporations, the Native American tribes that call Oklahoma home today will be based here forever. For this reason, they are uniquely aligned with the state’s growth. And over the past 15 years, their ability to positively influence that growth has improved in significant ways. While the $1.5 billion in exclusivity fees the tribes have paid the state over that period ($1.4 billion of which went to education) is rightfully celebrated, the future looks even brighter.

This is because of the tribes’ many forward-thinking leaders, who have focused on turning one major economic engine, gaming, into many more, further multiplying the positive impact for all Oklahomans.

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New tribal enterprises in Oklahoma span all the way from health care and infrastructure to retail, hospitality and technology, and as these new businesses grow, they will provide more jobs and opportunities for all Oklahomans, in addition to dramatically increasing the state’s tax revenues. Already, they have created and supported 96,177 jobs across the state.

The Economic Impact of Tribal Nations in Oklahoma Fiscal Year 2017

Oklahoma Tribal Nations are major drivers of Oklahoma’s overall economy, ranking as a Top 10 industry.

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As we're continuing to grow and diversify economically, that multiplier effect is going to have a huge impact going forward for every person. Not only tribes, but every person within the state of Oklahoma.

Philip Ellis
Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

As the tribes grow stronger and more diverse, perhaps nowhere is the impact felt more dramatically than in rural Oklahoma. At a time when rural areas across America are withering away, a completely unique story is playing out here. New businesses, health care facilities, recreational centers and schools are popping up everywhere, and with them comes new hope for employment and opportunity, not just for tribal citizens, but for every Oklahoma citizen.

“It's important to Oklahoma's economy for the tribes to continue developing as they've been developing,” said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. “We've become economic engines in our area, particularly in rural Oklahoma, where we affect the entire economy in Oklahoma.”

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