Choctaw Nation Strives to Improve Lives of Tribal and Non-Tribal Neighbors
The Choctaw Nation is far more than the third largest tribe in the United States. It is also far more than an owner of casinos in Oklahoma. And far more than a sovereign government with more than 6,000 employees with a payroll approaching $300 million.
The tribe, in fact, manages a rapidly diversifying group of businesses with a vast network of programs and initiatives that impact tribal and non-tribal people throughout the state and nation. In total the tribe’s activities and their indirect impact contribute nearly $2 billion in goods and services to the state’s economy.
“The story of the Choctaw Nation is one of constantly striving to improve the lives of our tribal members and all Oklahomans,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle, who has overseen the explosive economic growth and business diversification of the tribe for the last 15 years.
Among the tribe’s non-gaming businesses are the nation’s leading Native American defense manufacturer, travel plazas, cattle ranches, a printing company, a major employment placement services for the federal government and others, a digital document storage company and others.
The profits of the varied businesses fund medical care access, educational advancement, social services and economic development opportunities for Oklahoma residents and Choctaw Nation citizens. In 2010, the study said, direct payments of $235 million were designated for those activities. The Choctaw Nation also brought in $27 million in federal funds for road and infrastructure improvements that Oklahoma residents otherwise would have had to pay.
“The Choctaw Nation is the biggest employer in Southeast Oklahoma and one of the biggest in the state,” said Assistant Chief Gary Batton. “We view that fact as a solemn responsibility to work with our neighbors, who are some of the poorest in the state, to improve economic conditions for the entire region.