May Message

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Your government has adjusted to the rapidly changing environment

By Bill Anoatubby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation

The main responsibility of our Chickasaw Nation government, now and in the future, is service to the Chickasaw people. Those of us who serve you in your government are working hard to continue that service.

There is a plan from which we are operating, and we have a plan to reopen in the future. The health and welfare of our people continue to drive our decision making. We are dedicated to serving the needs of Chickasaw people regardless of the challenges we encounter.

Your government has been on a good path, and we will continue to do everything possible to maneuver through this crisis successfully.

We are now operating in a new reality and we have instituted a number of changes to adjust to the new environment. We have lost a significant percentage of our tribal revenue. We were prepared financially to cope with a crisis situation. Our team had the foresight to put reserves in place. We didn’t know we would be specifically facing a pandemic, but we foresaw some type of crisis and pre-pared for it. But, changes are inevitable to maintain the operation of tribal government.

Your government is functioning. Much of the work we now do is away from the office, but the work is getting done. We communicate differently now. No longer can you walk down the hall to talk with someone. We now use tele-conference, video conference, email and text almost exclusively. It is a big change, but we are handling it and getting the people’s work done. Interestingly, I have never observed as much camaraderie and effective communication as I am seeing now among our government workers. You should take pride in the fact our people are adjusting well and are committed to effective action that produces good results for the Chickasaw people.

There is also coordination among all the Five Tribes. We have a weekly video conference and we are all sharing information with each other. Just last week we initiated a call among all the tribes within Oklahoma.

On the health care front, our Secretary of Health Dr. Grim and his team are doing an outstanding job. We are providing drive-through testing for all citizens who make the request. We have also put in place rapid testing equipment that expedites testing and results.

The Indian Health Service has proved a wonderful partner. This critically-important agency has assisted us with funding, support and supplies. We are keeping up with our stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers. We are prepared for a surge if it should come.

The key for us has been our early actions. We established health and safety guidelines early on. As a result, we believe, we have experienced fewer cases within the Chickasaw Nation.

You and your family continue to be the focus of all our efforts. We are doing our business much differently, but who we serve has not changed. We understand our duty to you and we are dedicated to carrying out that duty fully. What I see now is a glass half full. We have encountered challenges and have taken a hit. We have reacted quickly and appropriately, and we continue to work our plan to-ward eventual success. Our goal now is to fill that glass back up to the top! We understand you are dealing with hardship as well. Our job is to keep your government running at a high level, and to make sure you are healthy, safe and getting what you need from those of us who serve you.

God bless you and keep you!