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Interesting Jobs In Indian Country: Lawton OK

Updated on August 25, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Early morning campfire drifting over Quanah Parker Lake.
Early morning campfire drifting over Quanah Parker Lake. | Source

Native and Western History

Some folks call Oklahoma and North Texas "Indian Country", since dozens of Native North American Nations and bands were moved there beginning before the Civil War. Other people remember the Dust Bowl of The Great Depression.

A markerLawton OK -
Lawton, OK, USA
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A City Built By Homesteading

A distance of less than 100 miles from Oklahoma City finds Lawton, the county seat of Comanche County. The county was named for one of the Native North American Nations living in the area. and the city was named for an American Civil War General.

Lawton has been recognized as one of the Top 30 Cities for Jobs in the US and appears on the list of Forbes' Best Cities for Jobs and Business in America. It was not founded until 1901, but grew quickly.

Comanche headdress, 1880.
Comanche headdress, 1880. | Source

In 1901, the last of the Indigenous Peoples' territories in Oklahoma were partially distributed by the US Federal Government to private citizens. From thousands of years in the past, the land had been stewarded well by Native Americans. Oklahoma seems filled with Native communities and reservations.

The actual Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation was finally given away by the US to homesteaders through a registered drawing or lottery in parcels of 160 acres each.

Some Natives moved westward. At least 29,000 homesteaders went to the SW Oklahoma Territory to register at Fort Sill; but an additional 135,000 registered at El Reno. People were excited about owning land in an uncharted territory. The drawing allowed 6,500 to homestead in one of three SW Oklahoma areas, one being Lawton, just south of Fort Sill.

Lawton still stands in the middle of a Native American-US Federal Statistical Unit for the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Nations. Fort Sill is an active military post and a recognized firefighting institution.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Apache leader Geronimo, Yanozha, Chappo, and Fun in 1886.
Apache leader Geronimo, Yanozha, Chappo, and Fun in 1886.
Apache leader Geronimo, Yanozha, Chappo, and Fun in 1886. | Source

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe is the federally recognized Native North American group of Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache located in Oklahoma.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ah-Keah-Boat-(Two-Hatchet), a Kiowa Nation man in 1898Major-General Henry Ware Lawton; US Union ArmyKa-e-te-nay, Head Chief, Warm Springs Apaches
Ah-Keah-Boat-(Two-Hatchet), a Kiowa Nation man in 1898
Ah-Keah-Boat-(Two-Hatchet), a Kiowa Nation man in 1898 | Source
Major-General Henry Ware Lawton; US Union Army
Major-General Henry Ware Lawton; US Union Army | Source
Ka-e-te-nay, Head Chief, Warm Springs Apaches
Ka-e-te-nay, Head Chief, Warm Springs Apaches | Source

Fort Sill and Homesteaders

The US Army's Fort Sill had been a cavalry fort the Civil War. Lot parcels in the 320-acre town itself were sold at auction, but commencing August 6th, 1869 winners of a lottery chose plots outside of town.

One site, the homestead of Ms. Mattie Beal, was the second lot chosen and the home and lands stand today in the central city of Lawton as a Historic Landmark on the US National Registry.

Landowners and their families – 25,000 of them - lived in tents for months. There were no streets, sidewalks, or public utilities. Schools were small. Fires were commonplace.

In 1910, after a decade of existence, the population had declined and nearby gold mines failed. A proposed railroad was scrapped when oil proved a hopeless commodity as well.

Lawton grew slowly as more people moved to the American West and in 1950 the population was 35,000; 80,000 by 1990.

The US Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill contributed much to this influx of new residents with its civilian jobs and military positions. The cooperative partnership between Lawton and Fort Still to the north has been a productive one and will likely continue to draw new residents and business to Lawton.

Our National Bird

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Bald eagle in the Wichita Mountains.
Bald eagle in the Wichita Mountains.
Bald eagle in the Wichita Mountains. | Source

Local Area Attractions

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A markerLawton OK -
Lawton, OK, USA
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B markerFort Sill -
Fort Sill, OK, USA
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C markerHoly City Of the Wichitas' 262 Holy City Road, Cache OK -
Cache, OK 73527, USA
get directions

D markerWichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge -
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, OK-49, Lawton, OK 73507, USA
get directions

E markerLake Quanah Parker -
Quanah Parker Lake, Oklahoma, USA
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F markerLake Lawtonka -
Lake Lawtonka, Oklahoma 73507, USA
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Medicine Park on the map above is an important community in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the 60,000-acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge that was founded in 1901. The refuge cares for American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed deer, and Texas longhorn cattle, s well as birds, fish and others.

Lake Quanah Parker

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The Holy City - Lawton, OklahomaMount Scott in the Wichita Mountains.
The Holy City - Lawton, Oklahoma
The Holy City - Lawton, Oklahoma | Source
Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains.
Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains. | Source

First created and produced in 1926, a passion play for Easter is held outdoors in the Holy City of the Wichitas near Lawton every year. The Wichita Mountains serve as a backdrop.

Lake Lawtonka has provided most of the drinkable water for Lawton OK since 1901.
Lake Lawtonka has provided most of the drinkable water for Lawton OK since 1901. | Source

Downtown Revitalization Plan and Progress

Like all great Top 30 American Cities, Lawton's planners ensure continued growth through scheduled reconstruction of areas within the inner urban areas and restoration of historic landmarks.

This can include historic commercial buildings, older homes, and other installations. It also includes brand new living spaces and sports and entertainment venues. Efficient planning increases the numbers of facilities in the downtown area at a rate at which business income can effectively grow and can be managed.

Where colleges, universities, vocational schools, and union-based apprenticeship programs operate nearby, the economy can benefit even further. This occurs where the training programs are supported by businesses that employ the trainees and graduated certificate or degree holders.

The educational network often performs research related to the local business community in order to build business and new jobs. In the 21st Century, this often includes green jobs, bio-technologies, medicine, alternative energy sources and similar breakthroughs.

Largest Employers in Lawton

  1. Fort Sill - Over 5,000 government, military and civilian workers and open jobs. Large complex just north of Lawton.
  2. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  3. Lawton Public Schools -- 4 High Schools, 4 Jr. High Schools, 28 Elementary Schools. Current student enrollment is approximately 33,000 with 1,100 certified teachers.
  4. Comanche County Memorial Hospital --
  5. Stanley - Based in Virginia, Stanley is a major IT consultant to 40 government agencies, including a $570 million project with Homeland Security. 2007 revenues were over $600 million.
  • The Bank One Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University rated Lawton as Number 6 in the nation for the development of new non-agricultural jobs in the early 2000s. Lawton had been at 192nd previously.

Top 10 Fast Growing Jobs through 2022

  1. Truck Drivers, Owner-Operators
  2. Veterinary Techs and Vets - Cattle and other herd animals, especially.
  3. Network Systems and Data Communications Specialists
  4. Registered Nurses
  5. Computer Applications Software Engineers
  6. Home Health Aides
  7. Gaming Surveillance Officers and Investigators
  8. Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners
  9. Pharmacy Technicians
  10. Forensic Science Technicians

Jobs providing the most openings, because of growth and higher turnover:

  1. Retail Salespersons
  2. Cashiers
  3. Waiters and Waitresses
  4. College Level Instructors having a PhD
  5. Registered Nurses
  6. Nurse's Aides, Certified
  7. All Food and Beverage Prep and Service Jobs

Higher Education

Among all levels of education, from High School Diploma and On the Job Training all the way to the PhD, it is the PhD that is most needed in Oklahoma through 2016. Associate Degreed people are next highly sought, followed by Masters Degrees in third place.

  • Cameron University - A Native American university that serves non-natives as well.
  • Aladdin Beauty Colleges
  • Central Texas College in Oklahoma
  • Columbia College
  • Comanche National College
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Platt College
  • Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • University of Oklahoma at Fort Sill
  • Webster University at Fort Sill - Masters of Arts degrees in Human Resource Management, Management, and Computer Resources and Information Management. Open to active duty and retired military, spouses and children; civilians employed at Fort Still, Reservists, citizens of Lawton and Fort Sill, Sheppard AFB, and Altus AFB.

Professional Training

The Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies - Cameron University. Comprehensive assistance is made available for entrepreneurs throughout Southwest Oklahoma at this specialized center. CETES offers

  1. A business incubator (start up plan) that for direct assistance to entrepreneurs, and
  2. An academic program to produce highly qualified professionals ready to handle information-based economies.

Great Plains Technology Center - Free of charge to employers. Great Plains Technology Center and the Economic Development Center in Lawton aids employers with specialized training custom designed and delivered to staff by certified trainers.

© 2009 Patty Inglish


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