January Message

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Our 2022 achievements lay the groundwork for an exciting, successful 2023

By Bill Anoatubby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation

Happy New Year! During this time, many of us are thinking about the upcoming year and what it holds for our future. As we look forward to the promise of new opportunities in the new year, it is important to also take time to reflect on our progress.

A united vision, combined with sound planning and hard work, have led us to yet another year of outstanding accomplishments. Thanks to a dedicated and talented staff, a steadfast commitment to service and collaborative partnerships, we made remarkable strides in 2022.

This past year, we continued to experience economic growth, and, as always, we worked to expand programs and services and provide Chickasaws with new opportunities.

We opened a new Chickasaw Community Bank branch location in Oklahoma City and continued construction on a new Chickasaw Community Bank headquarters. We broke ground on the OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Oklahoma City, which will support economic development in Oklahoma. We also built a new event center, parking garage and 15-story hotel at the WinStar World Casino, and made great progress on two commercial developments; the West Bay Casino and Resort on Lake Texoma and a casino and hotel on Lake Murray.

We expect these new tourism enterprises to provide even greater support in our efforts to offer increased programs and services and revenue to Chickasaw Country. We also launched a small business incubator program, Apelachi (Support) Business Center, to assist First Americans with their entrepreneurial endeavors, and we have high hopes that it will help lift even more tribal businesses.

This past year, we were pleased to award more than $28 million in scholarships, grants and other forms of financial support to more than 6,000 Chickasaw students. We welcomed more than 1,600 students to our camps, clinics and academies, and more than 500 youth participated in the Toksali SMART program. In May, we broke ground on a new Chickasaw Youth Club in Ardmore and made progress on a new gymnasium in Tishomingo. Our investment in our youth is an investment in our future, and we are excited to offer even more resources, opportunities and support in the year to come.

Providing quality, accessible health care has always been a top priority, and we continually work to improve in this area. In 2022, our health services reached new levels of excellence, earning two major national awards for quality and service in health care. This year alone, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health had more than 1.2 million patient interactions at our hospital and clinics and filled 1.4 million prescriptions on-site and mailed nearly 600,000 more across the country. We also expanded our Ada South Campus, where the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and many other services are located, and we look forward to continued expansion of our health care system in Newcastle.

To ensure the safety of our communities, we greatly expanded criminal justice capabilities, with increased resources, staffing, services and cooperative jurisdiction agreements with county, federal and municipal law enforcement agencies.

Our commitment to preserving and promoting our rich culture remains strong. In 2022, we embarked upon Chikashshanompa’ Ilanompoli! (Let’s Speak Chickasaw!): A Decade of Chickasaw Language. As we look ahead, we are encouraged by the number of people now accessing the Chickasaw language and plan to continue adding new opportunities in this area, as well as other ways to share our culture and history with Chickasaws, as well as the world.

We were blessed to celebrate this year’s Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival in the newly constructed Aiitafama’ Ishto (or large meeting place), which will serve as home to Chickasaw Annual Meeting for many years to come. This represents a tremendous step forward and one that continues to build on our early efforts, going back to Seeley Chapel, to rebuild and strengthen our tribe’s sovereignty.

We achieved much in 2022, with much more on the horizon of 2023 and in the years to follow. By focusing on our mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people, we are committed to finding new opportunities to evolve so that we continue to grow, to strengthen our sovereignty and to best serve and meet the needs of Chickasaws, families and our communities.

Today is truly an exciting time to be Chickasaw! We wish you peace and happiness in the New Year!