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February 25, 2014
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Citizen Potawatomi Nation: The economic engine of Pottawatomie County

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation has come a long way since 1971 when the Tribe’s bank account held just $550 and its assets included an aging mobile home used as an administration building. A combination of strong leadership and strategic planning has allowed CPN to advance beyond solely operating casinos. Today the Tribe manages a diverse portfolio of businesses and enterprises which have a significant economic impact in Oklahoma.

Current Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett took office in 1971 and by the late 1980s, CPN had begun to flourish. Foresight compelled Tribal representatives to diversify its commercial and financial resources, resulting in CPN possessing both the largest tribally-owned grocery store and the largest tribally-owned bank in the United States.

Other tribal enterprises, including a Cultural Heritage Center, FireLake Golf Course, FireLake Ball Fields and the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort have become popular destinations, for Oklahoma residents and out of state tourists. Enterprises operated by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation have made Pottawatomie County a tourism destination of choice for meetings, conventions and sporting events statewide.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation has been generous with its success. With a $522.3 million economic impact in 2012 and more than 2,200 employees, the Tribe is the economic engine in its 900-square mile jurisdiction in Pottawatomie, Oklahoma and Cleveland counties.

As a government, the Nation has worked diligently to cultivate a tax base that can support its government functions. 100 percent of the sales tax collected by Citizen Potawatomi Nation is spent on government services such as roads, services for citizens, education, emergency response and job creation.

Since 2003, Citizen Potawatomi Nation has created seven of every 10 jobs in the City of Shawnee. It also spends 30 cents of every dollar spent in Shawnee and has brought $261 million in Federal dollars to the State of Oklahoma.

CPN’s generosity and economic impact doesn’t stop there. Since 2005 CPN has contributed more than $5.4 million to 175 different civic and charitable organizations in Shawnee. The Tribe has spent $34.4 million on public facilities, including a golf course, parks and ball fields that draw in tourists from across the region. Many of these facilities offer reduced or no cost activities for nearly 2,000 local students each year. Additionally, 65 percent of CPN employees regularly contribute time and money to local charitable organizations.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s goal to make its communities the destination of choice for businesses and families doesn’t end with economic impact and charitable giving. CPN also works diligently to make sure infrastructure and public safety rise to the level of any city across the United States. The CPN Police Department employs 24 cross-deputized, CLEET-certified officers, and has contributed more than $40 million to water, sewer, roads and emergency management projects since 2005.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is a good partner to the communities in and around Pottawatomie County and to the State of Oklahoma and will continue on its path of economic development, job creation and charitable giving. Its successful partnership with its neighbors will reflect the growing sentiment of communities and towns across the United States who benefit from the municipal and business partnerships with tribal governments as they continue to prosper.

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