April Message

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Investment in Chickasaw students paying big dividends

By Bill Anoatubby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation

The Chickasaw Nation is an education tribe.

The Chickasaw government and Chickasaw people have understood for generations a good education is key to a successful and fulfilling life. Since our removal to our new lands in the 1830s, Chickasaws have consistently been drawn to educational achievement.

In those very early times, Chickasaw students engaged with church mission schools. Later, there were community schools, government-run schools and “finishing schools” for Chickasaw girls. Some of the experiences were cultur­ally uninformed, and all Indian students were subject to serious challenge. But Chickasaws continued to enroll in schools wherever they could find them. Education was, and is, that important to us.

In today’s Chickasaw Nation, our students are achiev­ing at levels our ancestors could not have imagined. We invest in excess of $25 million annually in tribal funding for education. From our three-year-old Head Start students to our post-doctoral academics, your tribe is taking huge steps to provide quality educations for Chickasaws.

At our tribally-funded Ada Early Childhood Center, a total of 120 Chickasaw youngsters are enrolled, and about half of those will graduate this year. This facility has re­cently received accreditation by the North Central Associa­tion Commission on Accreditation, the gold standard for education facilities across the U.S. Our staff is outstanding and our commitment to getting our kids off on the right foot in school is second to none! Our goal is to create life­long learners and excellent students.

Throughout our students’ secondary school years, we provide lots of guidance as our students make their ways toward high school graduation. We offer tutoring reim­bursement to students needing assistance in core sub­jects. We recognize our top students through our Chickasaw Honor Club. Our Native Youth Com­munity Project works with a number of public school students providing community, cultural and academic leadership. Our Science, Technology, Engi­neering and Math (STEM) programs utilize robotics training to guide our stu­dents to lucrative STEM careers. It’s amazing what our kids can achieve!

At the college level, our Chickasaw student en­gagement is wide-ranging and highly successful. For example, in Fiscal Year 2018, the Chickasaw Na­tion assisted 4,630 Chicka­saw college students. Our students benefitted from grants and scholarships that helped them pay for every­thing from tuition to books to clothing.

Our students received higher education grants, general scholarships, text book grants, ACT and SAT services, de­gree completion incentives, laptop scholarships, gradua­tion assistance and much more. And our college students have responded in amazing ways!

We also offer help and support for our students throughout their college careers. Our Chokka’ Kilimpi program supports our students on campus by creating an environment that promotes fellowship, commitment and academic excellence. We know college is challenging and we are there to support our students along the path.

For 2018, a total of 473 Chickasaw students earned bach­elor’s degrees or better. That is truly remarkable! Each of those graduates is now armed for tremendous success!

We understand some of our students take a career path other than college. The Chickasaw Nation offers a great menu of programs for career tech students. Many of these students seek to learn a trade or make a career in a field that does not require college.

Our career tech students can receive tribal grants for tuition, exam and licensure, text books and supplies, plus a certification completion incentive. Our career tech stu­dents are incredibly hard workers and they are building the foundation for excellent careers and growing families!

It doesn’t matter where you live or what your major field of study will be. Your tribe is helping Chickasaw students from New York to California, Florida to Washington state. Plus we are assisting a number of Chickasaw living over­seas! If you have the desire to make it, we are here to help you every step of the way!

A quality education is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive. With degree in hand, a Chickasaw man or woman can enjoy a great career while building a great family.

Remember, we are here to help you! Call our Education office today, or check out all the offerings online. You have a great opportunity for a fantastic future, and your tribe will be with you throughout your entire journey!