Did you know? The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is the beginning point of the 455-mile waterway that runs southeast through parts of Cherokee Nation to the Mississippi River. There is over 400,000 tons of cargo shipped through Oklahoma alone and the maritime industry is expected to grow by 16.8% through 2026.
And did you know? The 2018 Oklahoma annual median income for Native Americans was less than $30K. Conversely, an Able Bodied Seaman (entry level position) earned an average annual salary of over $52K that same year. It’s important to note that Native Americans make up less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the maritime workforce.
Let’s use this massive resource to enhance the lives of our people. Let’s train, certify and prepare our citizens for employment opportunities that they may have never thought possible, nor considered.
I envision a Cherokee Maritime Training and Education Center. A for-profit training center dedicated to providing initial and recurring training to prepare our people for these challenging and high paying careers. Classes would be open to anyone at a cost, but select seats in every class would be reserved, cost free, for our citizens. These cost free seats will be available to any Cherokee citizen regardless of where he or she resides.
Let’s enhance relationships and leverage existing resources for the betterment of all Cherokees, such as:
1. The Ports of Catoosa and Muskogee
2. Local Training and Education entities like the Indian Capital Technology Center
(ICTC) and other vocational schools
3. U.S. Coast Guard approved training and licensing entities across the country
With our growing tribe and increased needs of our citizens, we must continue to focus
on economic development - because increased revenue for our Cherokee Nation
means more unrestricted funds available for investment into basic services like healthcare, prescription drug assistance, education, elder-care, and housing - fortifying the sustainability of our Nation! Financial independence means less U.S. government involvement - which creates a stronger and more prosperous Cherokee Nation.