Oklahomans understand the importance of business and economic development. They know that attracting and supporting employers is essential to building a diverse, stable and thriving community.
As many people know, the tribes provide premier travel destinations — from outdoor recreation to games — that entertain Oklahomans and attract visitors from the region and around the world. Our casinos and resorts welcome people from all directions when they come to our state, providing world-class experiences.
But these are far from being our only contributions. Oklahoma’s tribes provide a wide variety of services to non-Native governments and businesses, and savvy business owners and managers have reaped tremendous benefits from working with us.
Some Native tribes provide global services to American heroes in uniform, producing gear and training that can be used anywhere. Revenues flow back to the country to be reinvested in the tribal areas, providing opportunities for all Oklahomans.
Tribal businesses are also prominent in banking, construction, and a wide variety of other fields, in addition to supporting jobs in areas such as accounting and human resources.
When businesses partner with tribes, it becomes easier to set up and grow in Oklahoma. Businesses have access to facilities such as industrial parks that take advantage of Oklahoma’s location as the hub of America and provide industrial companies with the opportunity to streamline operations and save money.
In addition to increased access to a diverse workforce, manufacturers and transportation companies can benefit from reliable and affordable public services. And in some cases, the parks are also in a Free Zone (FTZ), offering huge benefits and savings to businesses with international suppliers or looking to expand across borders.
This can include links with neighbors such as Canada and Mexico, as well as foreign partners.
Also, when agencies and businesses work with Native Americans, they know the money will stay at home. Because tribes are governments, their income does not go to international shareholders or owners who live elsewhere. The funds support their local communities and generate additional opportunities for all, including opening new markets for other businesses.
Truly, the Native American tribes of Oklahoma will continue to grow as a crucial part of the solution to our state’s economic future.
James Collard is currently Director of Planning and Economic Development for Citizen Potawatomi Nation.