A Vital Driver for the Economy

American Indian tribes have ushered in the most successful era for tourism in Oklahoma history. Across the state, tribes are running thriving businesses and enterprises, and their destination-driven attractions are drawing visitors to Oklahoma. From gaming and entertainment to resorts and retail, tribes are an essential engine for the state’s third-largest industry.

In addition to bringing in tourism dollars, the tribal culture itself is a tourist attraction. The tribes who make their headquarters here have helped propel a genuine revival in the legacies, traditions and history surrounding these cultures. It’s taught in heritage centers, displayed in museums, recreated in traditional villages, enjoyed in art, revered in powwows and celebrated in festivals.

We don’t have a Grand Canyon. We don’t have a Niagara Falls. But what we do have are 39 Indian tribes with historical sites, with museums, with cultural events, with dances, and art, and hotels. Tourism is really driven by our Indian tribes in Oklahoma.

Judge Robert Henry
Oklahoma City University (2010-2018)

Shawnee Balloon Fest

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s annual FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest draws upwards of 100,000 visitors each year.

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For some, it’s a way to reconnect with a long-forgotten heritage. For others, it’s a place to observe, learn and absorb. From museums and cultural centers to galleries and trading posts, the tribal nations of Oklahoma offer a variety of cultural destinations that attract travelers and locals alike. Each has a unique story to share and all are showcasing centuries of traditions and contributions.

Red Earth has been here in Oklahoma City for decades. It’s a celebration of native culture and native peoples and I think it’s something we’re very proud of here.

David Holt Mayor of Oklahoma City

We are bringing millions into Oklahoma. Eighty-five percent of our clientele comes from Missouri and Arkansas.

Glenna Wallace Chief Eastern Shawnee Tribe

If you give them a great five-star hotel, five-star restaurant, a wonderful casino experience, they're going to want to stay in your area for awhile.

Teresa France Executive Director Watonga Chamber of Commerce (2018-2020)