Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby leads ribbon cutting for Lakecrest Casino and Hotel in Carter County

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, center, is joined by tribal elected officials and leaders as well as Carter County and Ardmore dignitaries May 7 to cut the ribbon and officially open Lakecrest Casino and Hotel, located minutes from Lake Murray in south central Oklahoma. The Carter County development is anticipated to have an estimated $3.7 million annual payroll and employ about 450 workers.

Resort property minutes from Lake Murray includes 89-room hotel, casino, resort pool, conference space, RV Park and more

ARDMORE, Okla. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led ribbon cutting ceremonies May 7 for Lakecrest Casino and Hotel, located minutes from Lake Murray in south central Oklahoma.

Governor Anoatubby said the project continues the Chickasaw Nation’s commitment to provide opportunities to grow area tourism and the economic footprint as it attracts visitors from across the region and outside of the state. 

“The Chickasaw Nation is always seeking ways to positively impact our citizens and our communities, and the new Lakecrest Casino and Hotel will do just that,” Governor Anoatubby said.

“We are known for a long history of entrepreneurship and community building, a tradition we carry each and every day, as we celebrate the completion of a project that will benefit many here in the Ardmore area and many more across the Chickasaw Nation, and beyond.”

Located on State Highway 70, 2 miles east of I-35 exit 29, Lakecrest combines modern amenities with a friendly atmosphere to create a full-service resort experience just five minutes from Lake Murray. The dynamic development features a 70,000-square-foot casino with more than 1,000 electronic games and eight table games, along with a boutique, coffee shop, restaurant and bar. The 89-room hotel also includes a picturesque resort pool, business center and conference space. The property’s RV park has 20 slips and includes Wi-Fi, electrical hookups and online reservations.

“Lakecrest is a perfect getaway for people seeking a change of scenery with an added element of excitement,” said Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Dan Boren. “Building on our capabilities in providing choice entertainment, retail and hospitality experiences, we believe Lakecrest will be a destination location attracting visitors from Texas, Arkansas and surrounding states.”

The Carter County development is anticipated to have an estimated $3.7 million annual payroll as it employs approximately 450 people in full- and part-time roles. Studies conducted on the Chickasaw Nation’s behalf estimate a total economic impact on the regional economy in year one of about $102.4 million, including construction. A five-year economic impact is estimated at about $307.6 million.

“When we look at this property, we see more than just the fun and entertainment, or the peace and relaxation of luxury accommodations,” Governor Anoatubby said. “We see employment and the creation of hundreds of new jobs. We see the positive economic impact on the economies of Ardmore and Carter County.  Most of all, we see the multitude of ways it will directly contribute to meeting our mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.”

Lakecrest Casino and Hotel is located at 1000 US Highway 70 E, Ardmore, Oklahoma. For more information, visit or call (580) 222-2910.

Sovereignty Symposium will be June 11-12 in Oklahoma City

The Sovereignty Symposium is an international event held for the past 36 years in Oklahoma to provide a forum in which ideas concerning common legal issues among those in the legal professions, federal and state officials, and the state’s Native American tribes can be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial environment. It was originally established by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and now transferred fully to Oklahoma City University and our School of Law.

The move to OCU came about because of the institution’s long history within its School of Law of teaching and working in Oklahoma’s Native American tribal community. OCU law houses the American Indian Law and Sovereignty Center as well as the American Indian Wills Clinic. We are also currently working with many tribes on a new sovereignty institute as well as language revitalization efforts and technology in schools, both in conjunction with Apple.

This year’s symposium will take place June 11-12, 2024, at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Titled “A New Beginning,” the keynote speaker will be Geoffrey Standing Bear, principal chief of the Osage Nation. We also are looking forward to Southern Nation and their featured guest, the Osage Tribal Singers, who performed at the Oscars, playing at this year’s Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, June 11th at 1:15pm.

For more information or to register to attend, please go to

Native American Bank lends to growing Indigenous fashion company

Denver, CO—Native American Bank, N.A. (NAB), a national Native-owned community development bank and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), provided an Indigenous fashion company a $150,000 loan to support its growing business. 

Ginew is the first Native-owned denim collection in the country, which was founded in Portland, Oregon by Dr. Amanda Bruegl (Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee) and Dr. Erik Brodt (Ojibwe), associate professors at Oregon Health & Science University. Today, the company sells denim, tees, accessories, and other goods, all drawing direct inspiration from Native cultures. 

With access to capital provided by NAB, Ginew plans to hire three new staff from the Native community and expand its clothing line options into new areas. 

“Native American Bank is rewriting how Native communities can access banking services,” said Thomas Ogaard, President and Chief Executive Officer for Native American Bank. “Partnering with Ginew not only shows our commitment to small business, but our understanding of their importance of being a Native women-owned company that designs culturally appropriate Native apparel. The company can now rest assured knowing they have the support from an institution who values and supports their mission and growth for the next several years.”

NAB was established in 2001 after 20 Tribal nations and Alaska Native Corporations expressed the need for a national bank to serve Native people, communities, and Tribal governments and enterprises. Today, the company operates retail banks in Colorado and Montana, and recently opened a business office in Washington state. 

Approximately 95% of NAB’s loans are made to Native- and Tribal-owned companies. Nearly 90% of the bank’s commercial lending supports projects in areas certified as “Historically Under-Utilized Business Zones” by the Small Business Administration, and other areas that are considered economically distressed. In the past five years, the bank has made loans totaling $128 million to support $250 million in projects in Indian Country.

“Too often, we are forced to look to banks who don’t understand Native entrepreneurship, and the responsibility that comes with it,” said Dr. Amanda Bruegl (Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee), co-owner of Ginew. “We are part of a select group of Native brands transforming the apparel industry through authentic representation of Native culture. It takes Native-owned entities, like Native American Bank, to understand the value of investing in that vision.” 

Along with Ginew, NAB has provided capital to other Indigenous fashion companies and retailers, including OXDX in Arizona and Eighth Generation in Washington state. 

“Limited access to financial capital and services has been a significant barrier for Native small businesses,” said Ogaard. “We aim to remove that barrier to increase economic independence and foster a climate of self-determination in investment, job creation, and sustainable economic growth for small business owners located on or off the reservation.” 

Native American Basketball Invitational Announces Partnership with Arizona’s Family Sports

NABI semi-finals and championship games will be held at Footprint Center

PHOENIX — Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI), already the biggest and most prestigious all-Native American basketball tournament in North America, will reach an even larger audience this summer. The boys’ and girls’ division semi-final and championship games will be broadcast live from the Footprint Center on Arizona’s Family Sports. This new partnership reflects the overall growth of the invitational, which will take place July 22-27 in Phoenix.

“This is an exciting time for NABI. Because of the tournament’s popularity, we will now have six games at the Footprint Center—the home of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury—and have them televised on AZ Family Sports,” said GinaMarie Scarpa, NABI president. “Not only will this give more of our athletes the chance to play in this iconic arena, but it will allow more people the opportunity to come and cheer them on—or watch from home.”

This year, 225 teams applied to compete in the annual NABI tournament. A record-breaking 196 teams will participate, representing more than 180 Tribal Nations. Pool and bracket games will be played at Grand Canyon University, and various local high school gyms, through another partnership announced earlier this year. The final four teams in the boys’ and girls’ divisions will play at the Footprint Center before moving on to the championship games.

“Arizona’s Family Sports is proud to add NABI to our programming lineup, which also includes the Phoenix Suns, Mercury, Phoenix Rising, and AIA High School Championships,” said Debbie Bush, VP and General Manager of Arizona’s Family. “We are excited to bring NABI to even more sports fans across Arizona and learn more about NABI’s mission and accomplishments off the court as well.”

Throughout the weeklong program, the student-athletes will participate in the NABI College & Career Fair and NABI Educational Youth Summit. NABI uses the love of basketball to unite thousands of Native/Indigenous youth, inspiring them to develop their talents and skills to pursue higher education and become future leaders.

For more information about NABI: