Explore Native Business – Native American Heritage Month – Explore Native Challenge


Native Americans individual and tribes have increased their economic impact exponentially over the last decade.  Native business has grown to every sector including agriculture, entertainment, cannabis, casinos, manufacturing, and technology.

View a map of the over 400 Indian gaming locations.

Economic Impact of Indian Gaming

  • Indian casino revenue neared $32.4 billion in 2017.
  • Indian gaming operates in 29 states. 25 states allow Vegas-style Class III Indian casinos, 4 allow Class II-only casinos (bingo slots).
  • 38 percent of all U.S. gambling revenues come from the two states California and Oklahoma.
  • Indian gaming provides 612,000 jobs nationwide (both direct & indirect jobs).
  • Indian gaming pays $9 billion in taxes and revenue sharing payments to federal, state, and local governments.
  • The top 5 states for Indian casino revenue:
    Source: Casino City's Indian Gaming Report 2015

    1. California: $7 billion
    2. Oklahoma: $3.77 billion
    3. Florida: $2.33 billion
    4. Washington: $2.32 billion
    5. Arizona: $1.8 billion
Source: National Indian Gaming Commission www.nigc.gov

For a group that makes up 1.01% of the total population in the United States, the 300,000 Native-owned businesses are growing, albeit in small increments. For example:

“Although the total number of Native American small businesses continues to increase, those with employees decreased 3.2 percent during the 2002-2007 period (0.9 percent of all U.S. businesses). In 2007, Native American businesses numbered 236,967 for an increase of 17.7 percent during the five-year time period of 2002-2007. These American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms accounted for 0.9 percent of all non-farm businesses in the United States, employed 184,416 persons (0.2 percent of total employment) and generated $34.4 billion in receipts (0.1 percent of all receipts).”

The U.S. Census reports the following scenarios for Native American businesses. Thinking these through, $34.4B in revenue sounds like a lot, but it averages out to $114,667 per business. Further, only eight percent of Native businesses actually create jobs and less than 1/2000 of one percent employ 100 people or more. These businesses do, however, represent a significant amount of self-employment.

$34.4 billion
Receipts for American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2007, a 28.0 percent increase from 2002. These businesses numbered 236,967, up 17.7 percent from 2002.

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms in California in 2007, which led the states. Oklahoma and Texas followed. Among the firms in California, 17,634 were in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metro area, which led all metro areas nationwide.

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms that had paid employees in 2007. These businesses employed 184,416 people.

Percent of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms that operated in construction; and repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services in 2007.

Percent of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned business receipts accounted for by construction, retail trade and wholesale trade in 2007.

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more in 2007.

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms with 100 or more employees in 2007.
Source for data in this section: Survey of Business Owners-American Indian and Alaska Native Owned Firms: 2007.

Support Native Business

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Shop Native!

Especially during this holiday season, remember to include Native products on your list.

View our guides for Native holiday shopping!



Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Paul G

One Comment “Explore Native Business – Native American Heritage Month – Explore Native Challenge”

  • Hello, I was visiting your site and noticed you have a page dedicated to health information. It was my hope you might be able to feature our health resource among that list. If able, we would gladly make a financial donation to either you or the charity of your choice as a token of appreciation for your support. Thank you in advance for your time, as well as your dedication to the medical community.

    Have a wonderful day,

    Grace Hatman

    Outreach Coordinator

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