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Cherokee Nation
From left: Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Jenna Gonzales of Express Vending, Cherokee Nation Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh and TERO Construction Services Manager Larry Vance attend the TERO Certified Indian Owned Business Awards Banquet in Tahlequah, Oklahoma on December 5, 2023. Express Vending of Muskogee received the Certified Indian Owned Business Customer Service Award at the 16th annual event. Photo: Andadisgoi / Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation TERO Turns 40; Creates Prosperity Across Cherokee Nation Reservation
Monday, December 11, 2023
Cherokee Nation

Like many tribes across the United States, Cherokee Nation operates a Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) program to prioritize contracting with businesses that are owned by and employ Native Americans.

I am proud to celebrate the 40th year of our TERO program, which stands tall as one of the most respected throughout Indian Country. It is a stellar example of tribal self-determination and economic empowerment.

We recently celebrated our vendors at an annual celebratory banquet. We honored eight standout TERO businesses with awards, including winners from Tulsa, Spavinaw, Muskogee, Westville, Sallisaw, Pryor and Stilwell.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner welcomes guests to our annual Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) awards banquet.

Posted by Cherokee Nation on Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Today, the tribe’s TERO office has certified 733 Indian-owned companies and 180 artists who can do business with the tribe and compete for government contracting jobs. During the 2023 fiscal year, TERO vendors earned over $250 million in contracts from our sovereign government. Their services have been crucial as we undertake the largest construction and capital improvement boom in the history of the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Nation investments and the work of TERO contractors are visible across our reservation in community centers, health clinics, early childhood development centers, wellness trails, better roads and new homes for Cherokees. The Cherokee building boom is making huge strides for our communities and families across northeast Oklahoma. At the same time, the diligent efforts of our TERO program are putting more Cherokees to work in good paying jobs.

The TERO program also certifies Native American artists and creates opportunities for them to sell their art. With so much beautiful and meaningful Cherokee artwork throughout tribal facilities, many could double as free museums. TERO and initiatives like the Artist Recovery Act ensure that our valued artisans can support themselves in creative careers. Besides supporting artists, that keeps our culture strong.

We have also introduced a new website — — making it easier than ever for TERO-certified individuals and businesses to bid on Cherokee Nation projects.

Cherokee-owned small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities. Across the country, small businesses are responsible for 75% of new jobs created, and within our 14-county reservation, Indian-owned businesses are lifting up the state’s economy.

This growth is beneficial for Cherokees and for all Oklahomans. Every day, Cherokee Nation is improving health care, building opportunities for families and creating good jobs.

Through it all, we are nurturing Native-owned businesses, because they are building a brighter future for local communities.

Chuck Hoskin Jr
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the 18th elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. He is only the second elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from Vinita, the first being Thomas Buffington, who served from 1899-1903. Prior to being elected Principal Chief, Hoskin served as the tribe’s Secretary of State. He also formerly served as a member of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, representing District 11 for six years.