Study: Cherokee Nation economic impact $1.3 billion

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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 9/17/2013 6:34 pm Published: 9/17/2013 6:20 pm

The Cherokee Nation is boosting the Oklahoma economy according to an economic study by an Oklahoma City University economist.

An economic impact study by led by Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute, found the Cherokee Nation had a $1.3 billion economic impact on Oklahoma. 

More than 9,000 Cherokee Nation jobs and more than a billion dollars put into not only northeastern Oklahoma but also the state economy in the 2012 fiscal year according to the Cherokee Nation.

On Tuesday city, county, and state officials joined Cherokee Nation officials at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa to learn the results the study conducted every two years. 

The results created applause.

Lt. Governor Todd Lamb said, “I think it’s really important for our state to focus on beating Texas in something besides football.”

Lamb said the Cherokee Nation’s 20 percent economic impact growth in the past 12-18 months has helped Oklahoma be the champion for net growth.

“Thank you Cherokee Nation,” he said.

“It’s good both ways -- to be partners with the state of Oklahoma and for the state of Oklahoma to be partners with us,” said Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker.

Fourteen northeastern Oklahoma counties were studied, including Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Ottawa, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington.

The study shows Cherokee Nation direct employment was the highest in Cherokee County.

Rogers County had the highest share of Cherokee Nation direct output. FOX23 went to the study’s lead economist to find out what that means to residents.

“The Cherokee Nation either produced or purchased from a Rogers County company $275 million worth of goods and services,” Evans said.

Craig County Commissioner Hugh Gordon is not a member of the Cherokee Nation but he said without them some projects in Craig County couldn’t be done or completed, “because the funding is not there without their partnership.”

FOX23 learned not just casinos but also hospitals, schools, and roads have played a roll in the growing numbers.

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