Tribe strengthens state’s economy through investments and jobs
TULSA– Cherokee Nation’s impact on the Oklahoma economy now exceeds $2.03 billion, according to a report produced and released today by economist Dr. Russell Evans, principal at the Economic Impact Group and assistant professor of economics at Oklahoma City University.
“The Cherokee Nation is here to improve the lives of Cherokee people, and doing so improves the lives of all Oklahomans,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “During my time as Principal Chief, I’ve seen firsthand the changes we are making in families and communities throughout Oklahoma. Our focus is creating jobs, investing in vital infrastructure, building homes, improving health care, supporting education and making a difference in the lives of children. Those activities aren’t just an investment in Cherokee Nation. It is also an investment in Oklahoma.”
Evans’ study shows the Cherokee Nation directly employs more than 11,000 people in Oklahoma and across the United States. Combined direct and indirect employment in northeast Oklahoma alone totals 17,788 jobs, supporting $785 million in total wages and benefits.
“The Cherokee Nation continues to provide valuable economic opportunities in northeast Oklahoma, offering support to many rural areas challenged by the current patterns of urbanization,” said Evans. “Continued growth in the direct impacts of the Cherokee Nation combined with improvements to the impact models combine to reveal an economic impact greater than $2 billion, resulting from fiscal year 2016 operations.”
The Cherokee Nation’s government and business locations are spread throughout its 14-county jurisdictional service area, which encompasses most of northeast Oklahoma.
Cherokee Nation Businesses, the tribe’s corporate holding company, generated a record-setting $1.02 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2016, the year studied by economists.
The tribe operates more than two dozen businesses that span numerous industries, including consulting, health sciences, real estate, technology, distribution and logistics, engineering, manufacturing, construction and environmental services. These businesses secured more than $600 million in contracts, with revenue being spread throughout multiple years, and accounted for more than 37 percent of CNB’s revenue last year.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment, CNB’s gaming and hospitality company, continues to see growth throughout the region. In the past two years, the company has opened three new gaming destinations. Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville opened in spring 2015 and Cherokee Casino &Hotel Roland was completed in December 2015. The tribe’s newest casino, Cherokee Casino Grove, near Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, opened in late 2016.
CNB is also developing Cherokee Springs Plaza in Tahlequah. The new real estate development brought four new businesses and 170 jobs to the tribe’s capital city. Once completed, the development is expected to reach 1.3 million square feet of mixed use space.
Cherokee Nation’s investment in infrastructure and building resulted in hundreds of additional temporary construction jobs last year.
Construction is underway on two more projects in Tahlequah. The expansion of Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Keeler Complex is adding a second floor, more office space and a new exterior to the nearly 40-year-old facility, and a $200 million, 469,000-square-foot outpatient health facility is being built next to W.W. Hastings Hospital. The tribe also completed the expansion of the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell and the new Sam Hider Health Center in Jay. Last year, the tribe’s health system served 1.7 million patient visits.
Along with Cherokee Nation’s direct investment, the tribe offers an array of services such as housing, roads and bridges, career assistance, commerce services, education, human services and community development that have a significant impact on the local economy.
“When we invest in the lives of our people, we make a lasting impact on families and on the economy,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., Cherokee Nation secretary of state. “Our investment strategy is solid, and our people are worth every penny and all the hard work that go into executing that strategy.”
The research team carefully collected and reviewed data to ensure the Cherokee Nation’s impact on the state is accurately presented. Studies of Cherokee Nation’s economic impact have been conducted every two years since 2010. Reports from 2010, 2012 and 2014 showed the tribe’s economic impact as $1 billion, $1.3 billion and $1.55 billion, respectively.
For more information about Cherokee Nation’s economic impact, please visit www.cherokeenationimpact.com.
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