Historical and Economic Impact of the Cherokee Tribe in Oklahoma

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“Historical and Economic Impact of the Cherokee Tribe in Oklahoma”

Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

There are 39 sovereign tribes headquartered in Oklahoma, with a total membership over 700,000. Oklahoma’s Native American population is second only to the State of California. The economic impact on Oklahoma is enormous….over $10 billion annually, more than 50,000 jobs, that support another 100,000 jobs in businesses supporting tribal operations. The largest of these tribes, by far is the Cherokee Nation, the largest native American tribe in the Nation. The Cherokee Nation has members in 47 states but is headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

At the center of the Cherokee Nation’s great progress has been Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin, Jr., a resident of Vinita. Chuck’s steady voice on the tribal council and his six years of service as Secretary of State has been key to the extraordinary progress of the Cherokee Nation. Chief Elect Hoskin, Jr. will be inaugurated as the Principal Chief on August 14 and is expected to continue the great progress of this remarkable tribal nation.

Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin, Jr. was elected to serve as the next Chief of the country’s largest tribal nation on June 1, 2019.  He received 57 percent of the vote.

Prior to being elected Chief, Hoskin served as the Cherokee Nation Secretary of State. He was appointed to the cabinet position by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and unanimously confirmed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council in 2013 and reconfirmed unanimously in March of 2016.

As Secretary of State, Hoskin worked side-by-side with Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden to secure funding from the federal government to fund a billion-dollar joint venture investment in better health care for all Cherokees. He has also served as the Baker administration’s strongest advocate on sovereignty protection, investments in education, increased minimum wage, expanded maternity leave, the creation of family leave for employees who foster Cherokee children, and preservation of Cherokee language and culture.

He formerly served as a member of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, representing District 11 for six years and served his final two years as Deputy Speaker. On the council, he worked with his fellow council members and the Baker Administration to start building homes for Cherokees again, which had not been done in more than a decade, increased education funding and sponsored legislation to expand health care service through casino dollars.

Hoskin has testified at the United Nations on behalf of the Cherokee Nation and serves on multiple boards and commissions including the United States Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee.

Hoskin is a graduate of Vinita High School, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma Bar Associations.  Hoskin resides in his hometown of Vinita, OK, with his wife, January. They have two children, Triston and Jasmine.



Chair of the Day

David Walters is the CEO of Walters Power International, a global developer of electric generation power plants and the owner of Oklahoma Property Investors which holds 500,000 square feet of office space in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Formed in 1995, WPI and its affiliated companies have developed or played a significant role in more than $2.5 billion in power project transactions in 19 countries and the United States.

Walters is an engineering graduate of the University of Oklahoma and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. After serving OU as an Executive Officer and a few years in business, Walters entered politics and was elected the 24th Governor of Oklahoma at age 39.  As governor, he increased public school funding by 38%, cut the number of state employees, aggressively promoted economic development, reorganized the states role in international trade and achieved a 15-year record in job growth. His administration passed the state’s first bond issue in a quarter century, which funded $350 million in education facilities and created the State’s first fiber network.

David has made over 200 international trips to 32 countries, traveling over 4,000,000 miles. Walters work in South Asia has been noted by the national press.  In 2010 his work in Pakistan was featured in Forbes Magazine and the September, 2011 issue of Vanity Fair identified Walters as a back channel negotiator communicating in 1999, two years prior to 9/11, between the U.S. Government and the Taliban in an effort to get Afghanistan to expel Osama Bin Laden.


David Walters has been frequently recognized for his political, business, community and philanthropic leadership by numerous state and national organizations.  He was the founding President of the Santa Fe Family Life Center, a sports and exercise outreach for disabled and disadvantage children. David and Rhonda started what has become one of the largest OU Medical Center endowed chairs in Pediatrics in honor of their late son Shaun.  They are active in Our Lady’s Cathedral Catholic Parish and David recently co-chaired a multi-million fundraising effort for the church.  The nation’s largest Native American tribe recognized David in 2018 with its highest honor bestowed on a non-Indian, the Worchester Award, for his support of Oklahoma’s significant Native American population.  He was selected by the Sisters Cities organization in 2019 for their Global Vision award.  He was recently elected to lead the largest and oldest civic organization in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Rotary Club which is also the second largest Rotary Club among 35,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide.


Over the years David’s charitable and public policy work was recognized by the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women (1995), named an Honorary Professor by the Argentinian Universidad Abierta Interamericana (2000), In 2006 Walters was recognized by the Stonewall Democrats for leadership in minority rights and justice, received the Key Contributors Award from the Oklahoma Academy and was honored by the UAW for his work and presentations in Detroit to unsuccessfully attempt to reverse the closer of the Oklahoma City Assembly Plant.  In 2007 he was named the Knight of the Year and in 2017 David and Rhonda received the John F. Kennedy Community Service award from the Knights of Columbus (Council1038).  In 2015 David was named an “Official Working Family Hero” by the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma and was only one of four individuals to twice receive the Paragon Award from Leadership Oklahoma City over its 37-year history for service to non-profits.


David continues to be active in shaping public policy.  He organized and ran a multi-million dollar independent expenditure campaign for the 2018 elections.  He was elected in 2019 to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, an opportunity to help influence one of the great national parties.  He is currently active in supporting initiative petitions for election reform and better health care funding.  He has established a progressive policy  advocacy organization called The Oklahoma Center.


David and Rhonda have been married for 48 years and are proud of their three daughters and sons-in-law and the resulting four grandchildren.  They are also only a beloved memory away from their late son Shaun.



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