Cherokee Nation Emphasizes Economic Contribution To Oklahoma

Tuesday, November 19th 2019, 7:43 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

As hundreds gathered to celebrate the contributions the Cherokee Nation makes to the state, Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. also sent a message to Governor Stitt.

“I hope he takes away from it the new understanding of our contribution of our home, which is Northeast Oklahoma,” said Chief Hoskin.

Stitt wants to renegotiate the gaming compact and said he's been trying to work with the tribes but is getting nowhere.

“They would not listen to our plan. Then two or three days later we got a letter saying arbitration was off the table with no other resolution with how to get past this. The fact of the matter is they have refused to communicate with me,” Stitt said in a press conference.

Despite making millions of dollars from its casinos and other businesses, the Cherokee Nation said the tribe invests every penny into roads, schools and hospitals. That makes them one of the state's best businesses partners. Hoskin said they have increased their investment every year due to their diverse businesses and constant expansion. He said paying more to the state means less for Oklahomans.

Sequoya County commissioner Steve Carter said his county has been revitalized due to Cherokee investment and agrees the dollars should stay with the nation.

“It’s going to take away from projects that we have going. They have helped me with bridges and roads,” said Carter.

Stephen Wright, a Muskogee County commissioner, said the Cherokee Nation helped them through the historic flooding in May.

“The Cherokee Nation was one of the first to be on scene, they donated water and food by the truck loads,” said Wright.  

The Cherokee Nation hopes the numbers speak for themselves.

"It was our home before it became the state of Oklahoma. We are contributing to it mightily today," said Hoskin.

Hoskin said he hopes this economic impact increases every year. He also hopes the tribe can come to a fair agreement with the state on the gaming compact.