Cherokee Nation honors top Indian-owned businesses of 2018

November 2, 2018

(L-R) Front Row: Jonathan and Tylen Turtle. Middle Row: Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Turtle Nation Engraving owners John and Shelly Turtle and Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Back Row: Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors David Walkingstick and Buel Anglen, Tribal Council Secretary Frankie Hargis, Tribal Councilors Bryan Warner and Rex Jordan, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez and Tribal Councilors Janees Taylor, E.O. Smith and Harley Buzzard.

TULSA, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored hundreds of Native-owned businesses during the tribe’s 11th Annual TERO Certified Indian Owned Business Awards Banquet Thursday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

“Eleven years ago we had around 330 TERO-certified vendors, and today that number is well over 800,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “Cherokee Nation has, by far, the largest and most progressive TERO program in Indian Country. It is growing more and more each year and enabling more Cherokees to earn a quality job and make a good living. These Indian-owned businesses are vital to northeast Oklahoma’s economy.”

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office has more than 820 Indian-owned companies that are TERO-certified vendors able to do business with the tribe and compete for government contracting jobs. In fiscal year 2018, TERO vendors earned more than $40 million in contracts with the tribe.

“I am so grateful to our TERO certified businesses, because they have played such a vital role in Cherokee Nation’s economic growth,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The ripple effect of Cherokee Nation’s recent economic success is evident when you see the growth of Cherokee Nation certified TERO businesses. We are not only helping Natives establish and succeed in business with the awarding of contracts, but also indirectly providing even more jobs to all Native people through our TERO vendors.”

Nine of the TERO-certified businesses received special recognition for their outstanding performance as part of the annual awards banquet.

Turtle Nation Engraving, located in Proctor, Oklahoma, received the Retail Business of the Year award. The company has been a TERO vendor since August 2013. It has completed a number of projects for Cherokee Nation since becoming a TERO vendor.

“Being the TERO Retail Business of the Year is a great honor and something we are extremely proud of. Receiving the award with our boys present was a very grateful moment,” said John Turtle, owner of Turtle Nation Engraving. “Being TERO certified has been a huge asset to our company over the past five years. Majority of our jobs come from being TERO certified and we would not be the business we are today without TERO.”

The nine certified Indian-owned businesses for 2018 are as follows:

Woman-Owned Business of the Year – L & H Services, Tahlequah

Pioneer Award – C & L Supply, Vinita

Community Leadership Award – Frame Tek, Bixby

Consulting Firm of the Year – HP Engineering, Rogers, Arkansas

Customer Service Award – Maska Builders, Jenks

Retail Business of the Year – Turtle Nation Engraving, Proctor

Small Business of the Year – Walkingstick Painting, Westville

Large Business of the Year – Lynxsystems, Tulsa

Construction Company of the Year – Contech, Inc., Broken Arrow

The tribe’s TERO department also presented Cherokee Elder Care a check for more than $17,000. The money was raised through the annual TERO golf tournament and will help provide Christmas gifts to Cherokee Elder Care participants this year.