Opinion: Interstate partnership will drive innovation, economy

Chief Hoskin Mug
Chief Hoskin Mug

To grow the economy across the Cherokee Nation Reservation, we must be forward thinking, collaborative and willing to work across borders. As the largest tribe in the United States, we have unique opportunities to grow prosperity for our citizens. We also need the support of our neighbors, because we will all rise or fall together with the regional economy.

I am optimistic that we are on the rise, thanks in large part to the innovative collaborations between our tribe and our neighbors. Cherokee Nation is a founding partner in the Heartland Advanced Medical Manufacturing Regional Cluster (HAMMRC), a campaign to attract and keep high-quality health care manufacturing jobs in northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. The goal of HAMMRC is to grow a medical manufacturing cluster, spearheaded by the communities along the Highway 62 corridor.

The coalition involves economic development entities in both states, eight cities, three counties and the Cherokee Nation. The willingness of these diverse entities to work together on a regional basis gives us a great competitive advantage.

The plan, originally developed by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and Tahlequah Regional Development Authority, focuses on manufacturing devices, components and equipment for the health care industry. We believe it will create careers for our citizens that tie directly into other efforts in the Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) arena where Cherokee Nation is leading the way. Hoskin

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