Monday, August 29, 2016

CNB revenues climb, spur growth in northeast Oklahoma

Cherokee Nation Businesses’ annual year-end audit shows the tribe’s economic development arm ended another fiscal year with record revenues. The company’s revenues grew by $96 million year over year, with revenues topping $925 million in fiscal year 2015. Our businesses continue to experience record growth and remain vital to economy of northeast Oklahoma. More importantly, those business successes mean we can do more to improve the lives of Cherokee people.

Cherokee Nation has a $1.5 billion economic impact on the state’s economy and the existence of our business arm achieves two fundamental priorities: the first is to grow the economy of the Cherokee Nation through jobs, and the second is to provide fiscal funding that supports the services and programs utilized by our citizens, like housing, health care and education.

We are also investing in things like first responders, community infrastructure like road and bridges and waterlines, as well as public parks and splash pads that improve the quality of life for area families. You can see we are all over the 14 counties and have improved so many lives. We have seen the positive impact we are making on the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people.

As our businesses continue to grow and succeed, so does our ability to further support the tribe and remain a positive community partner for our state, and we are partnering with local businesses and local chambers to bring in work and jobs. Part of that is ensuring we have a capable and highly skilled workforce that fulfill those quality jobs. Today, we have more students on higher education scholarships in the history of the tribe, and we expect to issue more than 4,000 higher education scholarships for the coming fall semester.

The tribe’s overall workforce grew in 2015. The company now employs roughly 6,500 people. More than 4,900 of those jobs are scattered across northeast Oklahoma. The opening of new casinos in South Coffeyville and Roland created 400 new jobs, and a new casino in Grove will soon bring 175 new jobs to that community.

Besides gaming and hospitality, the tribe’s financial arm operates businesses in industries such as aerospace manufacturing, health care, real estate, information technology, office solutions, telecommunications, environmental and construction, and security and defense.

Last year, CNB's diversified businesses portfolio secured hundreds of federal and commercial contracts totaling more than $437 million, with revenue being spread across multiple years.

In addition to a 35 percent dividend to the tribe, CNB also completed a major portion of a $100 million capital investment in Cherokee Nation’s health care system. For the first time ever, we’ve taken our casino profits and directly invested them into the health of the Cherokee people. Using casino profits earmarked for the construction of new health centers as well as the expansion of existing health facilities, the tribe opened new health centers in Ochelata and Jay and expanded health centers in Sallisaw and Stilwell in 2015.

We are addressing the housing needs of our people much quicker. Along with construction on health centers, the company is also helping build neighborhoods for the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority in communities like Vian, Roland and West Siloam Springs. These efforts better ensure Cherokee families have a better opportunity at homeownership.

I believe our citizens see the benefits of using our businesses to grow the economy. When our businesses are doing well, so are our people, our communities and our state. We have laid a strong foundation here in northeast Oklahoma, and we are building a brighter future. Just look around and you can see that.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Statement on DA Pipeline protest in North Dakota

The Cherokee Nation stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its effort to halt the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I applaud our Tribal Council for showing the support of the legislative body of the Cherokee Nation as well. 

The Standing Rock people have an inherent right to protect their homelands, their historic and sacred sites, their natural resources, their drinking water and their families from this potentially dangerous pipeline. The Cherokee Nation supports safe and responsible energy development, and energy development in Indian Country is only responsible if it respects the sovereign rights of tribal governments and includes meaningful consultation with tribal officials. 

As Indian people, we have a right to protect our lands and protect our water rights. That’s our responsibility to the next seven generations. The Standing Rock Sioux should be allowed a place at the table to express their legitimate concerns on a pipeline plan that could be detrimental to their tribe for many future generations. 

Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association: For Fun and For the Future

Protecting the environment and being forward-thinking stewards of our land is an inherent Cherokee value and something our people have always passed down from generation to generation. It’s a responsibility I take seriously as Chief of the largest tribal government in the United States, with more than 340,000 enrolled citizens.

It is well known that American Indians, including Cherokees, were this country’s first conservationists. The environment impacts every single one of us on a daily basis through the water we drink, air we breathe and ground we walk upon. In that spirit, I appointed the first-ever Secretary of Natural Resources. Sara Hill is responsible for shaping our environmental policies.

One of the first initiatives in this renewed focus on natural resources was guaranteeing our hunting and fishing rights. We began issuing Cherokee Nation hunting and fishing licenses last year that allow Cherokees to hunt and fish in all 77 Oklahoma counties. We have issued about 115,000 of those to date.

Now, I am proud to announce our next brick in the foundation of our environmental preservation work, the formation of the Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association. Members of this association will be among the first to know when new opportunities arise to continue the work of our ancestors as modern-day stewards of our lands.

The association is for Cherokees Nation citizens; however, non-Cherokees can sign up as friends of the association and opt in to receive notifications that may be of interest to any outdoorsman or environmentalist. We will maintain a separate list of Cherokee Nation citizen-members and a list of friends and supporters of the association. Participation is voluntary and free of charge.

Along with information about the hunting and fishing license, members and friends will get relevant information about Cherokee Nation initiatives, tips for hunters and anglers, and useful information for hobbyists interested in nature and wildlife conservation. Members will receive a membership card, a vehicle sticker and access to exclusive wildlife and hunting and fishing information in the “members only” area of the website.

Traditional Cherokee wildlife habitat and management information, lake levels, calendars, regulations, and maps for hunting and fishing seasons will be included in the information.

Additionally, public events will be part of the association’s efforts. We are currently in the planning process, and potential events include conservation projects, special hunts, fishing tournaments, archery lessons, hunting and safety classes, and recommendations for gun and bow owners.

You’ll also have an opportunity to provide feedback, so we can tailor our programs to support the outdoor recreational activities that you enjoy throughout the Cherokee Nation.

We are proving how we can be a state and national leader in environmental conservation, as well as a trailblazer in Indian Country, setting the standard for other tribal governments. No other tribe has started an association that resembles this effort. Cherokee Nation is again leading the way.

The Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association will make it a priority to better protect and preserve wildlife, teach better land stewardship, safeguard our water and air resources, provide our citizens and friends, especially our youth, with informative environmental data, and make a concerted effort to play our part to combat global climate change.

Northeast Oklahoma is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is my home. It is in these hills and waterways that I grew up hunting, fishing and hiking and being connected to nature.
I believe preserving that right forever is our moral obligation.

We can all join together to form an organization, the Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association, that makes our natural world a priority. This work will benefit nature enthusiasts and sportsmen alike.

I know that many of you will want to join us to build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren, and I applaud you. It is our duty to make our world livable for future generations. That’s why I hope we can empower, engage and encourage youth leaders to be active within this new association.

Through this effort and every decision we make, we strive to keep our land clean, our water safe and our air pristine. Stewardship, as a guiding principle, must be embraced at every level, and what we do today at the Cherokee Nation will impact whether our resources are sustainable for the next seven generations to come.

I encourage everyone interested in protecting the environment to join the association as either a member or a friend, because protecting and conserving shared resources for the future is a responsibility all Oklahomans share. During Cherokee National Holiday, we will have opportunities to sign up for the association, and soon a new website will be coming online for members and friends. For more information, contact Dale Glory at the Cherokee Nation at (918) 453-5333 or

Friday, August 12, 2016

Celebrate history, culture during annual Cherokee National Holiday

It is my favorite weekend of the year. Labor Day weekend always means it is time for Cherokee National Holiday. The 64th annual event, which runs Sept. 2-4 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, will again draw a crowd of more than 100,000 visitors to our capital city. I invite anyone who has never experienced Cherokee National Holiday to join us for fellowship and fun as we celebrate the history, heritage and hospitality of the Cherokee Nation. And, of course, we always look forward to seeing the thousands of friends that return every year, while meeting new friends this homecoming weekend.

As we come together this year, we celebrate the accomplishments of our tribal government and our bright future. We share our Cherokee traditions and values. The first Cherokee National Holiday was held in 1953 to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution.
This year’s Cherokee National Holiday theme, “Stewards of our Land,” is a reminder that Cherokee people have, since time immemorial, protected our earth and safeguarded our precious natural resources. Cherokee people were among the first conservationists in this country’s history, and today that spirit lives on in our important work.

We proudly celebrate the natural world and strive to keep our land clean, our water safe and our air pristine. Every decision we make is deliberate and with our natural resources in mind. One of the things we achieved in the past year is establishing a secretary of Natural Resources, who’s responsible for shaping a policy to preserve our land, water and air. We also secured a historic hunting and fishing compact with the state and a portion of those earmarked funds go specifically to statewide conservation efforts. We have an inherent responsibility to the next seven generations of Cherokees to leave the world a better place.

The 2016 Cherokee National Holiday design, which was created by Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink, is simply beautiful and ties so many of concepts together in one piece of art. It will be exceptional on a shirt or a poster. At the center is a deer sugar skull decorated with elements of predator and prey. Inside the skull are snakeskin, fish scales and patterns associated with Southeast Woodland design, native to the Cherokee people. The cape feathers directly under the deer embrace the tribe’s 14 counties. The blue background is the horizon over Lake Tenkiller, marked with the seven-pointed star. The circle is encompassed by three patterns, including deer tracks to embody a successful hunt, stylized turkey feathers and scales. The three patterns represent the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. Lastly, the seven Buffalo Carp fish under the circle honor the seven Cherokee clans.

Every year the Cherokee Nation offers its citizens and visitors an array of entertainment, cultural and athletic events to participate in. The Cherokee National Holiday has something of interest for all walks of life, from traditional foods and music to competitive marbles, a car show, softball and stickball tournaments and the annual children’s fishing derby, hosted by pro angler Jason Christie. Additionally, I encourage history enthusiasts to explore our local museums during the holiday weekend. They all highlight different aspects of Cherokee events and people.

Visitors will be able to experience the annual marquee events like the powwow, parade and state of the nation address. The always-popular Cherokee National Holiday parade travels down Muskogee Avenue in downtown Tahlequah and is the only parade in the state to be announced in both Cherokee and English. The Cherokee National Holiday Intertribal Powwow is also routinely one of the biggest draws of the annual celebration and has been profiled as one of the best powwows in America. The two-night event offers thousands of dollars in prize money for Southern Straight, Northern Traditional, Fancy, Jingle and other dance categories.

Friends, I hope you will allow the Cherokee Nation to showcase our vibrant culture and rich history this Labor Day weekend. You’ll find a wealth of kind hearts, determined minds and resilient spirits, while making memories you and your family will cherish for a lifetime. You may even leave town with a cornhusk doll or a woven Cherokee basket. God bless each and every one of you, and God bless the Cherokee Nation.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tribe’s small business expertise allowing ideas to flourish

Oklahoma’s small-business community represents an important part of our state’s ability to generate wealth and drive our economy. According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma consistently ranks among the top states in America for entrepreneurial activity and entrepreneurs per capita. That speaks volumes about what we do here in Oklahoma and how important entrepreneurship is to the economy of Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation is playing a vital role in the landscape of creating a strong environment for small-business owners and startups. We certainly want to help our citizens find the right resources that will allow their unique business ideas to bloom.

Since 2010, the Cherokee Nation Economic Development Authority has issued more than 200 small-business loans. That has created 940 jobs within our tribal jurisdiction and represents an investment of more than $8,914,000.

Entrepreneurs are the future of Indian Country’s economy, and in order to keep growing the local economy, we must support the development of Cherokee entrepreneurs in Oklahoma. That’s why we offer our tribal citizens who aspire to open and operate their own business financial support through a variety of loans, as well as technical assistance and training to help them start and grow their business ideas.

The business world is driven by those willing to take a risk and turn their dreams into reality. As a small-business owner myself, I understand the desire of working for yourself and making a positive impact on your families and your community.

 We’ve seen many great stories emerge from our small-business loan program:

  •  Janet’s Beauty Salon, owned by Janet Binam in Locust Grove, has expanded and modernized to keep a business open and thriving on the community’s main street.
  • Bo Gaines opened his specialty coffee shop in downtown Pryor next to his church, where his idea started when he brewed and gave coffee to members on Sunday mornings .Today, he’s grown that idea into a standalone coffee shop.
  • Rita Drywater expanded her business in Grove by opening a second location in Pryor. Rita is making a real difference in the lives of area families by offering a sober living residence for women that helps address the disease of addiction and substance abuse.
  •  In Vian, Morning Sky and Evening Shade Mercantile has rejuvenated the downtown area with its unique retail offerings. Callie Prier along with her mother, Suzanne Sullivan, have created a destination shopping boutique.
  • Currently, we are supporting Robert and Jeanne Burgess in opening Junk and Disorderly in downtown Grove. They are renovating an old vacant building and bringing new life to Grove’s downtown district.

These are all Cherokee Nation small-business owners that we have invested in and helped sustain, creating a clearer path to success. Small businesses are Oklahoma’s lifeline in the present and represent a bright future. The bulk of our state’s workforce is employed through small-business ventures. 

I encourage you to explore the possibility of small-business ownership, and if you need assistance, please contact the Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center. Our staff can help you understand different financial options and any other funding availability. 

Please visit or email or call 918.453.5536 for more info.