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Oklahoma tribes contributing more than ever to state’s economy, according to new study | Local News

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Native American tribes contributed $15.6 billion to the Oklahoma economy in 2019, the most recent year with available data, according to a study released Wednesday.

The tribes directly employed more than 54,000 people and supported 113,442 jobs for both tribal and nontribal citizens, accounting for more than $5.4 billion in wages and benefits to Oklahoma workers, according to research sponsored by the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium.

“Tribes are an economic driver as well as a constant and reliable partner,” said Victor Flores, the Consortium’s president. “Unlike corporations that move based on economic conditions, our tribes are here to stay.”

The study’s time period ended before the impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns, but tribal economic activity increased more than $2.6 billion from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2019, officials said.

“This study shows just how important tribes are to Oklahoma’s economy,” said Neal McCaleb,…

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