Many people incorrectly assume that Native Americans live relatively primitive lifestyles far from industrial society. In reality, Native American tribes are highly active in the world of business and contribute a great deal to the progression of the professional world. In fact, various Native American tribes own million-dollar companies with growth rate percentages in the thousands. These businesses are not only beneficial for the tribes that own them, but for Native American societies and economies as a whole. Read on to learn about some of the leading Native American businesses.
The Chickasaw Nation
In south central Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation is the embodiment of business acumen. Its Chickasaw Nation Industries division is comprised of 13 businesses, including CNI Aviation, which in June 2010 receive the 2009 Federal Aviation Administration’s Small Business of the Year Award for its work on the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute Contract. The Chickasaw Nation’s A+ Government Solutions has performed work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and others. While the company headquarters are in Norman, Okla., CNI offices can be found in several southern states, meaning the tribe’s business ventures have a positive impact far beyond Oklahoma.
The Chickasaw also understand that tourism can be a great way to generate revenue. In Pauls Valley, Okla., the tribe’s Bedré Fine Chocolates company appeals to visitors traveling along Interstate 35. Tribal business leaders know that tourists stopping at the 5,500-square-foot store may also be more likely to visit other Chickasaw attractions nearby.
The Cherokee Nation
Self-labeled as the “economic engine of the Cherokee Nation,” the Cherokee Nation Businesses – or CNB – houses several divisions: environmental & construction; healthcare; hospitality; manufacturing & distribution; real estate; security & defense, and technology. The business units within the company have been awarded several prestigious industry titles, including 2011 Region VI Prime Contractor of the Year, awarded by the United States Small Business Administration. The Cherokee Nation employs or supports employment for more than 13,000 people in 14 Oklahoma counties, and pays out $400 million in annual salaries. The Cherokee’s economic contribution to the state of Oklahoma is significant.
The Native American community has a history of struggling with poverty and disenfranchisement; however, the success of these businesses proves that Native Americans can create incredible opportunities for themselves and find ways to create meaningful work for tribe members. But these businesses also contribute to economies as a whole, employing a great number of people with no tribal affiliation.
From cyber security to dental office staffing, Native American businesses offer a diverse list of services covering almost every branch of industry.
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