WYANDOTTE, Okla. – The Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium held a conference at the Indigo Sky Casino and Resort, hosted by the Eastern Shawnee Tribe on March 22-24.
The consortium included 20 of the 38 tribes of Oklahoma along with many tribal citizens including Native business owners, tribal employees, and Native sponsors. Also in attendance were large corporations who collected data to provide an impact study to highlight the tribes’ contribution to the states’ economy.
Biannual meetings are held to share knowledge, expertise and experience. It allows the tribes to advance economically and financially within the state.
Attendees watched presentations from President of the OTFC Victor Flores, Eastern Shawnee Tribe Ceremonial Chief Shawn King, Treasurer Justin Barret, REDW Accounting Firm, Moss Adams Consulting, Hogan Taylor Technology, Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, and First United Bank, along with other businesses.
Topics presented included tribal involvement in the cannabis industry, wealth management in Indian Country, cryptocurrency, broadband, information technology, tribal healthcare, digital banking solutions, fraud, 105(c) lease programs, enterprises, and post covid world protocols for tribes.
Tribes shared data within the consortium to participate in the Native Economic Impact Study released every two years.
The most recent study was released in March 2022 and contained an evaluation from 2019. It stated the total impact on the state was over $15 billion. In 2020, the consortium released the evaluation of 2017, stating the total impact to be nearly $13 billion.
Oklahoma City University Professor of Economics and Director of the UCO Center for Native American & Urban Studies, Dr. Kyle Dean generated the numbers of the study. He is best known for his comprehensive work with Oklahoma tribes, having completed the first ever estimate of the combined economic impacts from Oklahoma tribal activities.
According to Dr. Dean, the report includes the economic activity measured by tribes and the Indian Health Service.
“It excludes the direct contribution of many related Native American entities, tribal citizens and self identified Native Americans,” Dean said.
Flores claims this is a place where tribes can network and learn from each other as well as learn about each other.
Flores also leads the Tribal Services division of national leading accounting firm REDW. (https://www.mvskokemedia.com/redw-expands-business-to-oklahoma-tribal-governments/)
In this capacity, he brought together all the tribal treasurers, secretary of commerce, finance officers and directors from all 38 federally recognized tribes that have headquarters in Oklahoma. This meeting started the consortium in 2017.
He said, “REDW was actually one of the founding sponsors.”
The OTFC is planning the next conference this summer at Downstream Casino Resort by the Quapaw Nation.
Last year, the MCN hosted the spring conference at River Spirit Casino and Resort.
The 2024 spring session will release the Native Economic Impact Study for 2021.
For more information visit https://www.oktribalfinance.com/.