Press Release

Release Date: January 23, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • From left: Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton and Seminole of Oklahoma Chief Greg Chilcoat.

TULSA, Okla. – During their January 11 quarterly meeting, the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes passed a resolution calling for restoration of federal government operations and funding of tribal programs.

Tribal leaders said the recent partial federal government shutdown has been disruptive and they hope the federal government can soon resume its regular functions.

“We’re continuing to provide services to our tribal members,” said Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said that the Chickasaw Nation is continuing its operations.

"We are continuing with business as usual using available funding to operate federal programs,” said Governor Anoatubby. “We will continue to monitor the situation."

“I hope there’s a resolution and calmer heads will prevail,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.

The council also passed a resolution “commending the leadership of the Oklahoma delegation in the 115th Congress and supporting key legislative accomplishments.”

Speaking prior to the council voting on the resolutions, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd said he believed the Inter-Tribal Council’s unity helped win key legislative victories.

“We all carried the same message,” Principal Chief Floyd said. “We got (amendments to the Stigler Act) passed and signed into law – a great accomplishment there.”

“These amendments really restore some land rights that were taken away from the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles back in 1947,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “It’s going to help our citizens maintain control of their land, which could have been in their family for generations.”

Additionally, Chief Floyd said The JOM Modernization Act is another welcome legislative success.

Principal Chief Floyd thanked ITC staff and tribal employees for their work in preparing documents and information to share with the federal government.

“It really sets the stage for a lot of good things in the future,” he said.

In other business, members of the council voted for Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Chief Greg Chilcoat and Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby to serve as the council’s new president and vice president, respectively, in a routine changing of officers.

“I’m very honored,” said Chief Chilcoat.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Chief Chilcoat were the previous officers for the Inter-Tribal Council.

“It has been such an honor and a privilege to be among you, to work for you, to work with you and to work with these other leaders,” said Principal Chief Baker.

The regular quarterly meeting was hosted by the Seminole Nation in partnership with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation at the River Spirit Casino Resort Hotel in Tulsa.

Nine resolutions were approved by the council. The other seven resolutions were as follows:

About the amendments to the Stigler Act: The amendments to the Stigler Act remove the requirement that an individual inheriting land originally allotted to members of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma must have 50 percent Native American blood from one of the five tribes in order for the land to remain in restricted fee status. The amendment allows all members of the Five Civilized Tribes who hold family allotments to retain their land in trust status, if they choose.

About the JOM Modernization Act: The Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act requires the United States Department of the Interior to update the count of Native American students eligible for the JOM Program annually. The JOM Program awards contracts to support the needs of Native American students. The contract amounts are based on the number of students served, so the updated numbers would be reflected more regularly in the contracts.