October Message

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Chickasaw housing evolution focused on serving Chickasaw families

By Bill Anoatubby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation


Access to high quality, affordable housing is essential to our overall wellness and fulfillment. One of our most basic needs, shelter provides us with safety, comfort and a launching point from which to pursue our goals and dreams.

In the Homeland, our ancestors recognized housing as essential to the safety, warmth and protection of the family. Traditional Chickasaw towns were comprised of numerous summer and winter houses innovatively built for the specific elements and challenges each season presented. Family and community have always been integral to the resiliency, pride and progress of our people. Family homes were among the first items constructed in Indian Territory after removal, and communities were formed throughout the Chickasaw Nation.

Nearly 35 years ago, we developed a plan that established housing as an important aspect of our efforts to meet our mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.

The Chickasaw Housing Authority was created in 1966 as the first step in our modern government’s efforts to meet the housing needs of Chickasaws. The housing authority and the Chickasaw people dedicated our efforts to realize the dream of home ownership for Chickasaw people. Chickasaw families often assisted in the construction of their homes in the early days of the housing authority, pouring their heart and sweat into a home they could call their own.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the housing authority continued its work by navigating federal Housing and Urban Development grants to fund housing projects that would benefit Chickasaw families. Federal regulations accompanied the grant funding, and strict guidelines dictated fund allocation and exact specifications of the homes being built.

Though funding was limited, several important housing programs were created during that time. Many of those programs still continue in some form today, including a homeownership program and low-income rental assistance.

In 1996, the passage of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) offered tribes the opportunity to focus on the specific housing needs of their people. Shortly after NAHASDA was passed, we became involved in the negotiated rulemaking process, along with other federal and tribal partners. We came together to help ensure this new law would be implemented effectively and sustainably for the Chickasaw people.

The passage of NAHASDA was a tremendous step forward in fulfilling our self-determination and mission.

We created a partnership between our Chickasaw Housing Authority and the Chickasaw Housing Administration. Each entity has its own functions, but ultimately, they are integrated and always working together. As these two entities learned how to best function together, maintaining our housing authority alongside our housing administration services made a tremendous impact on the success of our housing programs over the last 26 years.

After NAHASDA, we saw a great opportunity to tailor our housing programs and services to the specific needs of the Chickasaw people. We immediately went to work conducting needs-assessment meetings to determine what programs and services would most benefit Chickasaw families. From these meetings, we were able to form new programs that more directly and adequately addressed specific needs.

Programs formed since NAHASDA include the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program, Home Ownership Program, Down Payment Assistance Grant, Handicapped Accessibility Grant, Home Improvement Grant and the Storm Shelter Program. Since these programs began, more than 3,500 families have been assisted with a home improvement grant, more than 5,200 storm shelters have been built and more than 4,500 citizens received down payment or closing cost assistance.

Today, we are proud to offer a variety of housing programs, services and opportunities to Chickasaws around the country.