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(L to R) Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, James R. Childers Architect representative Breck Childers, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.

The Cherokee Nation honored 10 standout certified American Indian-owned businesses for 2015 during a Nov. 19 dinner at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Hundreds of Native business owners attended the eighth annual TERO Awards banquet to hear Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker deliver the keynote speech.

“Through our TERO efforts, we are putting more Cherokees and other tribal citizens to work every day, and I am proud to say we are making progressive strides to do even more in northeast Oklahoma,” Baker said. “American Indian small businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of our local economies and one of the Cherokee Nation’s greatest assets. Across the United States, small businesses are responsible for 75 percent of the net new jobs created, and that is true here locally as more and more Indian-owned businesses are thriving and contributing to our nation and state’s economies.”

The Cherokee Nation established a Tribal Employment Rights Office in 1983. TERO negotiates for job vacancies with contractors doing business with the tribe and refers qualified Native American workers to fill vacancies. TERO also maintains a list of more than 800 Indian-owned businesses and offers preference to the Indian-owned vendors who bid on Cherokee Nation contracts.

In 2015, TERO vendors earned more than $71.1 million in contracts.

“The number of TERO-certified vendors has quadrupled in the past eight years,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd. “The increase in vendors has resulted in more Cherokees and other Natives being able to support their families while also helping local economies grow, which in turn grows the great state of Oklahoma’s economy.”

The top 10 certified Indian-owned businesses for 2015 are as follows:

• Davis Excavation, of Tahlequah, for Community Leadership Award
• Meeks Lithographing Company, of Tulsa, for Customer Service Award
• James R. Childers Architect, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, for Consulting Firm of the Year
• Green Country Steel, of Salina, for Construction Company of the Year
• Danny’s Muffler & Tire, of Tahlequah, for Retail Business of the Year
• Harris Contractors, of Fort Gibson, for Woman Owned Business of the Year
• Ogden’s Heat & Air, of Stilwell, for Small Business of the Year
• Ground Zero Construction, of Colcord, for Large Business of the Year
• CPR, of Tulsa, for the Pioneer Award
• Strong Builders LLC., of Rose, for the Chief’s Award

James R. Childers Architect representative Breck Childers said the tribe’s TERO program has helped his company and others grow.

“TERO’s help has meant everything to our company. I know there have been times when we might not have been awarded the project without the Indian preference,” Childers said. “We’ve been TERO certified for about 18 years, and the help from the TERO program has just helped our company grow.”

For more information on Cherokee Nation TERO, visit www.cherokeetero.com.

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