Study: Absentee Shawnee Tribe Injected More Than $145M Into Oklahoma in 2017

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe is primarily located in the heart of central Oklahoma with approximately 4,343 enrolled members.

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma had an economic impact of more than $145 million in the state in 2017, supporting more than 1,130 jobs that paid $55 million in wages and benefits to workers, according to portions of a study released Tuesday.

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe (AST) is headquartered in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and spans parts of three counties: Cleveland, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie.

“This report shows that the Absentee Shawnee Tribe is making positive contributions to the state,” said Governor John R. Johnson. “We are providing sought-after jobs with well-paying wages and benefits.”

“We are extremely honored to partner with the wonderful communities within our jurisdictional boundaries,” said AST Representative Atheda Fletcher. “The Absentee Shawnee Tribe is a permanent and committed partner,” Fletcher said.  

Left to right: Representative Danny Sterling, HD 27; Atheda Fletcher, AST Representative; Ezra DeLodge, AST Secretary; John R. Johnson, AST Governor; Representative Dell Kerbs, HD 26. (Courtesy Absentee Shawnee Tribe)

The report, which was released during a luncheon Tuesday on the AST campus, breaks down the Tribe’s investment in government, business, roads and other capital projects. The Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium sponsored a study examining Tribal economic impact in Oklahoma earlier in the year. The Center for Native American and Urban Studies (CNAUS) at Oklahoma City University researched and reported the findings. Tribes who provided data for the comprehensive study each received an individual report outlining their statewide economic impacts.

“This study shows what we have long known: Tribes make a positive impact to their communities, no matter their location or size,” said Governor John R. Johnson.

According to the study, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma spent $52 million operating the government and providing services to citizens in 2017. The Absentee Shawnee government maintained 453 direct jobs, paying $27 million in wages and benefits to Oklahoma workers. Tribal business entities operated in Oklahoma earned $25 million in combined revenues, while the Tribe spent $688,945 on capital projects in 2017.

“We are very pleased with the results our Tribe is showing and look forward to continued growth in all sectors,” said AST Secretary, Ezra DeLodge.

Headquartered in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma spans part of three counties, including Cleveland, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie.  There are 4,430 Tribal citizens throughout the United States, with 74.1% living in Oklahoma.

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