Investing in a brighter future

This article appeared in the June 2024 edition of the Chickasaw Times

Beginning with our first tribal enterprise, the Chickasaw Motor Inn, the Chickasaw Nation has focused on business diversification to sustain the great progress we have enjoyed over the years. Our diversification strategy has produced strong results, and we continue these strategic investments to further expand our portfolio and fund vital opportunities for Chickasaws.

In recent years, investments in Good Springs Capital, LLP, which invests in profitable founder and entrepreneur-led companies with high sustained growth potential, and Pennington Creek Capital, which focuses on investments in a broad range of business and industry beyond the Chickasaw Nation treaty territory, represent the next steps in the future of our economic diversification efforts.

Chickasaw Nation Industries (CNI) also added to its portfolio last year with the purchase of Washington Business Dynamics, a well-established consulting firm, further expanding the CNI client base. CNI operates several diverse subsidiaries providing support and services to numerous federal agencies and more.

A host of new commercial developments have also recently opened, including the West Bay Casino and Resort, near Kingston, Oklahoma, Lakecrest Casino and Hotel on Lake Murray near Ardmore, Oklahoma, and significant additions at WinStar World Casino. Construction is ongoing at the OKANA Resort and Indoor Waterpark, located in the Horizons District near the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.

Lakecrest alone will employ approximately 450 people. We estimate a total economic impact on the regional economy in year one of about $102.4 million, including construction. A five-year economic impact is estimated at about $307.6 million.

From OKANA to Lakecrest, these new developments are an important part of the $5.5 billion annual economic impact we now have on the Oklahoma economy, and may contribute to an even greater impact in the future.

The incredible success of our businesses enables us to accelerate the execution of our long-term, economic diversification plans, and it has resulted in increased funding for tribal programs and services that benefit Chickasaw citizens, families and our communities. The opportunities afforded by our successful enterprises abound and vary from education and health care to community and social services.

Congratulations to all of the Chickasaws across the country who recently celebrated graduation. We applaud all who are reaching educational milestones and continuing our long legacy of excellence in education. We have heavily invested in our education programs to offer assistance and resources for Chickasaws of all ages, and that investment continues year after year. Chickasaw students are excelling in a variety of academic fields and activities, and we are excited for all that they have accomplished thus far and all they will accomplish in the coming years.

Throughout the summer, many Chickasaw youth will also be taking part in an array of Chickasaw Nation camps, clinics and academies. Our camps, clinics and academies offer a variety of fun and enriching opportunities for our youth to explore a range of interests. From artistic and athletic skills development to cultural connection and outdoor recreation, youth can enjoy new experiences or continue to enjoy an area in which they are passionate about.

Over the years, we have also invested in tourism, both culturally and recreationally, as a means to boost local economies and offer fun experiences for Chickasaw and other families. This summer, and year-round, a wide range of activities and attractions can be found throughout the Chickasaw Nation ranging from entertainment and culture to arts and nature adventures.