Study: Oklahoma tribes had nearly $13B impact on state in 2017

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OKLAHOMA CITY – According to a new study, the 38 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma had a nearly $13 billion impact on the state in 2017.

The study, sponsored through the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, found that the tribes directly employ more than 50,000 people and support a total of 96,000 jobs to tribal citizens and non-citizens, accounting for more than $4.6 billion in wages and benefits to Oklahoma workers in 2017.

“This study shows that Oklahoma tribes are providing valuable jobs and employment to Oklahomans throughout the state,” said Lisa Johnson Billy, Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs. “We look forward to continued growth and cooperation that benefits all Oklahomans.”

“Unlike corporations that move based on the economy and population migration, tribal nations are permanent and invested in the long-term growth of their jurisdictional area as well as the state as a whole,” said Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation Ambassador At-Large to the United States.

According to the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, tribes invested a total of $200 million in transportation infrastructure, paid $213 million in Medicaid expenditures at tribal healthcare facilities, as well as $198 million in 2017 to support Oklahoma education.

A total of $12.9 billion in 2017.

“Tribes provide critical services for rural communities,” said Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Reggie Wassana. “We are proud to provide monthly assistance to more than 2,100 Cheyenne and Arapaho elders for subsidies such as food, utility, medical and other basic needs. Additionally, we support non-tribal entities such as public schools, school activities, fire departments, EMS services, city utility projects and numerous civic organizations within our tribal jurisdiction that spans across 12 counties in western Oklahoma.”

The study was prepared by Kyle Dean, associate professor of economics and the director for the Center for Native American and Urban Studies at Oklahoma City University, who analyzed data from 15 tribal nations based in Oklahoma.

Click here to view the study.

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