AICCO to measure impact of Native businesses and tribes in Oklahoma

OklahomaBusinessCommunity Indigenous
Collaborator: VNN Content Studio
Published: 02/22/2024, 9:30 PM

Native Commerce News is sponsored by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma (AICCO), dedicated to expanding Indian Country commerce across the globe. 

 Written By: Rachael Schuit

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) The influence of Indian Country businesses on the State of Oklahoma’s economy cannot be understated, according to tribal leaders like Muscogee Creek Nation (MCN) Principal Chief David Hill.

Each year, Oklahoma’s 39 tribes generate billions of dollars for the state’s economy.

Hill recently discussed MCN’s economic contributions in his annual State of the Nation address.

“We started our year by signing an MOU with the City of Tulsa and the City of Jenks for the South Tulsa Dam project which has been in the works for years,” Hill said.

Hill said the dam project will lead to new economic opportunities along the Arkansas River.

The Chickasaw Nation also started construction on the Lakecrest Hotel and Casino at Lake Murray in 2023, which is expected to be complete in the spring of 2024 and provide jobs for more than 200 people. The five-year development is expected to cost more than $300 million.

Amber Sharp is an American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma (AICCO) State Board member and CEO of ClaimRev, a Native-owned business. She said the tribes aren’t just creating jobs through casinos and other business ventures.

“They’re also bringing in tourists eager to experience their culture,” said Sharp. “Their investments go beyond just business–they're improving infrastructure and providing essential services like healthcare and education, which helps everyone.”

Recently, AICCO launched a new initiative to measure the economic impact its Native business members and the state’s tribes had in 2023.

“AICCO is a big booster for the Indian Country economy,” Sharp said. “By hooking up Native American businesses with resources and networking opportunities, it's like they're laying down the groundwork for these businesses to grow and thrive. Think of it as creating a community where everyone's got each other's backs, sharing knowledge and opportunities.”

AICCO’s economic impact research and reporting project will survey AICCO Native businesses and tribes on topics such as jobs they have created and revenue they’ve generated.

“Native American enterprises often prioritize hiring within their communities, providing not just jobs but career development opportunities that help reduce unemployment rates and boost economic independence among Native populations,” said Sharp.

Once the survey results are in, AICCO will analyze them and release the data to the public. These surveys also seek to measure collaboration and community improvements related to Native and tribal business.

“These collaborations turbocharge the economy by pooling resources, expertise, and networks, making the pie bigger for everyone,” said Sharp. “It's about creating jobs and sparking innovations that wouldn't be possible in isolation.”

Sharp said one of the major goals of AICCO Native businesses is to honor the heritage of Indigenous people in their work environments and in the products they create. This endeavor is made stronger through chapter and statewide events, such as ‘The Gathering’ and ‘Leadership Native Oklahoma.’

Sharp noted that these events are “not just about business growth; they're also about making sure culture is part of the economic conversation.”

AICCO’s Economic Impact Research and Reporting Project is being facilitated by Native-owned news organization Verified News Network (VNN) Oklahoma. To learn more about this project, email


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