The Cherokee Nation Government Relations Department has began sponsoring a series of four Leadership Forums designed to enhance established relationships with other government entities as well as to improve community infrastructures, in conjunction with these entities, throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.

The most recent forum was held Friday, June 16, at Talking Leaves Job Corps south of Tahlequah. Three additional forums will be held later this month, including one for McIntosh, Muskogee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties on June 22 in Muskogee; one for Craig, Delaware, Mayes and Ottawa counties on June 23 in Jay; and one for Nowata, Rogers, Tulsa and Washington counties on June 30 in Catoosa.

Participants in the forums include city, county and state elected and appointed officials as well as members of area Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Authorities. The Tahlequah forum included officials from Adair and Cherokee counties and centered on the infrastructural work, including road and bridge projects, that Cherokee Nation has helped fund within its jurisdiction over the last year.

The positive economic impact Cherokee Nation continues to have within its jurisdiction was highlighted in opening remarks from Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Joe Grayson.

“As a government, the Cherokee Nation helps maintain and improve the roads, living conditions and safety of its citizens in northeastern Oklahoma. We do this through roads, sanitation, law enforcement and emergency medical services,” Grayson said. “The total estimated impact that the Cherokee Nation has upon the State of Oklahoma is over $800 million [annually].”

Such assistance benefits not just Cherokee Nation citizens, but other residents of the state. One area of assistance includes the creation of jobs, a central goal of the Cherokee Nation.

“Our stats from 2005 show that for every 100 Cherokee Nation jobs created, we create an additional 30 jobs in northeastern Oklahoma. The money Cherokee Nation spends stays in Oklahoma and is circulated locally,” Grayson said.

For information, (918) 453-5675.