2008 State of the Nation Address

“Remembering Our Past, Building Our Future”
Governor Bill Anoatubby
10/4/2008 4:07:53 PM

2008 State of the Nation

People of the Chickasaw Nation should be, and many are, very confident and secure in knowing that we’re strong. There’s been great use that’s been made of the resources and the time and the energy, and it’s all resulting in a securer foundation for future Chickasaw generations.

We treasure the efforts of our ancestors. They paved the way for us, giving us the most precious gift: a brighter and better tomorrow. Today, our theme is, “Remember our past, and build our future.” We take that to heart, the lessons and advice that have been given us by our great leaders that were before us: the statesmen, the artisans, our elders and many citizens. It’s due to the self-determination and self-governance dreams of tribal sovereignty, this never-give-up attitude, a faith in our Creator and each other that has brought this Nation so far. The same characteristics led to a future that shines.

You know, Chickasaws receive educational opportunities. Chickasaws have the security of hearth and home, employment opportunities and the peace of mind that comes with proper health care. Today, the fortitude and determination of our ancestors serves as a foundation for our future. Building, growing, learning, we prosper and thrive, unfaltering, always committed to the mission of our great Nation: to enhance the overall quality of life of Chickasaw people.

As we reflect on the images of our past and the present, we’re reminded of just how far we’ve come. Even though we were uprooted from our ancestral homeland and forced west – and we had an unknown future – our story reflects a continuation of our tradition and our heritage. It’s been passed down to us from generations long ago. And today, we still stand strong.

We face adversity, but we’re armed with determination and foresight, having faith in our Creator and in one another and patience in the process of progress. Today we reap the rewards of our brave and tenacious stand.

I remember, many years ago now, when I was first elected governor in 1987, we had a team, a small team at the time, but we sat down and we laid out a plan. This was a vision of what the Chickasaw Nation could be, and what the Chickasaw Nation would be with hard work and determination.

That plan called for economic prosperity, allowing financial independence to meet the basic needs of Chickasaw people. The plan called for quality, affordable housing, improved health care and educational opportunities for Chickasaws. That plan was created to help make the vision a reality.

At that time, we had some resources. And we thought we had quite a few resources. But the resources we had weren’t really enough to do everything we wanted to do.

We had a budget of about 11 million dollars, and that budget was funded primarily from the federal government in the form of grants. We had services. We had the housing authority. We had some scholarships. We had Carl Albert Indian Health Facility. We had clinics in Tishomingo and Ardmore. We had a few businesses, a couple of senior sites, and we had about 250 or so employees.

And believe me, we truly appreciated what we had at the time. But we knew that in order to provide more, to provide other opportunities, real opportunities for a better life, we needed more funds. And it was decided that the best way to get funding was through economic development, creating and operating businesses, businesses that had three main purposes.

First and foremost, to create the revenue that we needed to provide the services that people needed. Second, to create jobs for Chickasaw people. And third, to create revenue for the long-term, which would establish a strong and stable economic base for the future, for our nation and for our people.

We sought to provide services that individuals found difficult to provide for themselves. An infrastructure was needed to access health care, a way for an individual to afford a home. We needed law enforcement. We needed for people to have an opportunity to have a better life.

Now this has really been a short time, when you think about it. But there’s been tremendous progress. Looking at what has been built, at what has been created, the results of hard work – they’re visible, they’re tangible. All you have to do is look around, and you see the success.

There is a wonderful team of employees, managers, directors and a lot volunteers who are creative, innovative people, diligently pouring their energy into a positive future for the Chickasaw Nation.

Each is dedicated to finding new and better ways to enhance the overall quality of life of Chickasaw people.

Great progress has been made, but, you know, there’s a lot still do be done.

Success has been made in providing opportunities to meet the most basic needs –health care, housing, education and employment. There are improvements to make, but we are well on our way.

Working to safeguard history and culture, arts, humanities and language for future generations… the need to teach today about customs and way of life is great as well.

Revitalization and preservation of the content of history, is just as vital as career training and development for the future.

Each day, we work diligently at those things that will sustain us.

As mentioned, one vital part of the plan is economic prosperity. We had to have the means.

Today, the plan is much the same as it was then: create funds to take care of the most immediate needs, right now, and invest in the future.

The environment is dynamic. It is constantly changing. We invest funds into new businesses and industry so as to prepare for a strong and sustainable economic base far into the future.

Today, there are programs and services that support our efforts, strengthen our families and instill culture for future generations.

Today, we have a sound economic base. Our businesses provide revenue to support our efforts - businesses that compete and succeed in today’s world economy.

Today, Chickasaw people have opportunities for a better education, better healthcare and better employment.

We are united in our cause. We seek success in every effort we make. We have a will to build a better future because we are Chickasaw!

The State of the Chickasaw Nation Today

We have been diligent and aggressive in working to meet the needs of Chickasaw people, and we have been conservative and prudent in our investments.

As a result, today, I can proudly report to you, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Chickasaws, that the state of the Chickasaw Nation is strong. (audience applause)

We are not without challenges. We are in an uncertain time in the world and especially in the United States, economically.

We must be mindful and watchful of what is happening in this economy we live in.

The current economic crisis, regardless of the solution – and we know congress has passed a solution, and I think the President may have signed it already – however that turns out, it will have an effect on the federal budget.

Funding we receive from federal agencies will undoubtedly be affected.

Realistically, we must, and are preparing for a change. We will need to be flexible over the coming months, and, more than likely, over several years…many years.

We are not quitters, and we are vigilant.

We also keep a watchful eye on the investments that we make. We remain diligent, conservative and above all, always protective of the future economic welfare of Chickasaw people.

Education, Youth and Family, Arts and Humanities

Remembering our past, we think of our parents and grandparents. Looking to the future, we think of our children and our grandchildren. And one of the best ways to secure a good future for our children is through education.

As we remember our past, we are taken back to the first school built in the Chickasaw District, the Chickasaw Manual Labor Academy.

We remember Bloomfield and the Colbert Institute, Wapanucka Academy and the Burney Institute.

Keep in mind that these institutions existed before the Civil War, not too soon, really, after removal. Even then our forefathers knew the importance of education.

A strong resurgence of purpose and direction took hold of our people back then. In the 1850’s what emerged was an unrelenting characteristic to never give up, never give in, but to rise above adversity, to survive, to thrive and prosper in this new world.

Today we continue to support education.

For the Fiscal year 2008 just ended, more than $7 million dollars was applied to education in the form of grants, scholarships, assistance and incentive programs.

We had some new programs that were added this year. We have the text book grant. We have some cash incentives. We have added laptop computers. We have an internship program. And all of these things make it easier than ever before for a Chickasaw to obtain a quality education and be ready for a career when they graduate.

Our younger children…we’re doing things that help provide for them as well.

On November 5, a new sick child care center was opened, and it’s for those children who are mildly ill. This is a great benefit for the parents. They won’t have to take off work to care for their children if they’re mildly ill. And in the first year of operation, we had 240 children that we served.

The Internship program that we have has assisted several students as well. This is a tremendous opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience and, for the future, to make invaluable connections.

Education isn’t restricted by age, either. No matter how old, or how young, there are opportunities that are provided.

We have the school-to-work program, and it’s very successful. This program helps Chickasaw students with full time employment while they are attending an institution of higher or extended learning.

Ninety-two students were enrolled in the program this last year and several of them have graduated and obtained employment.

A good education must be well rounded, encompassing many disciplines, permitting students to experience the real world, to grow, to build an appreciation of life outside the classroom, develop their strengths and discover their passion.

That’s a Chickasaw education.

It can be found on the competitive grounds of a stickball game during Chikasha Saya (Siyah) (I am Chickasaw) Camp.

The Chickasaw Education is different. It is special. It is precious - empowering our people with the tools and skills to compete and succeed in today’s world, maintaining the spirit and passion of our ancestors - to never give up or give in.

Leadership training and experience is one of the most important opportunities that can be provided for our people as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow.

We have leadership councils, camps, academies and mentoring. These are great tools that are used in providing this type of experience.

This year, more than 1000 students… 1000 Chickasaws from all over Oklahoma and other states, made their way to summer camps and academies.

Each year, we see first-hand the benefit and the impact that these opportunities play in the lives of our youth.

Chickasaw Nation Aviation and Space Academy, Entrepreneurship and Arts Academies, sports camps, leadership camp, cultural camps…and we can continue the list.

This year, some of our Chickasaw students took part in the FIRST Robotics Competition. You might think that I meant the very first one, but FIRST actually has a meaning. First stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and its designed to inspire students to become science and technology leaders.

Our FIRST - team, Metal Mayhem, took top prize in rookie of the year at both the regional and national level competition. We should be very proud of them.

They had to build a functioning robot … Now, I don’t know about you, but I am very impressed with these students.

This year, we are adding Lego and Lego junior team competition for ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 14.

Working hard to provide opportunities for Chickasaws to further explore the fields of science, mathematics and technology is very important. For this reason, in August, the Science, Math and Technology program was created.

This program will manage CNASA, the FIRST programs, space camp and a new environmental program that we began this fall.

The Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy completed a very successful year.

You saw the results of the work. Some of these students have done wonderful. There were a hundred…a hundred students participated in the two week arts experience.

For the first time, the academy offered residential housing for twenty young Chickasaw who were able to attend from areas as close as Oklahoma City and Norman and as far away as Missouri, Texas and South Dakota.

Working with professional artists, instructors and special arts and cultural presenters, these students gained hands-on experience and developed their creative skills and their talents.

Several of the young Chickasaw artists from the arts academy had their work displayed at the OU Jacobson House in Norman. Their work was on display from August 10 through September 10.

And our very own Amanda Shackleford, who is Chickasaw, served as curator at the “Keeping of the Flame: Young Chickasaw Artists Showcase.”

Our young Chickasaw artists in the entrepreneur design club have created a set of four beautiful Christmas cards. Now, they’ll be available for purchase today at the South Eastern Art Show and Market… They call it SEA-SAM. It will be the SEA-SAM tent on the capitol grounds.

Now, three of our student composers – students of Chickasaw Composer Jerod Tate – have been selected to participate as “guest composers” in the National Museum of the American Indian Classical Native Series in Washington, DC.

On November the 8th, the original compositions of Kate Duty, Courtney Parchcorn and Wyas Parker will be performed by a string quartet for audiences at the museum and at the Kennedy Center Millennium stage.

Now this is truly an incredible, and quite possibly, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these young artists.

Another wonderful project from the division of arts and humanities is the Mike Larsen Elders Portrait series, “They Know Who They Are.”

Mr. Larsen and his wife, Martha, interviewed and painted a series of 24 portraits of Chickasaw elders.

The works have been on display at the Oklahoma History Center and the Red Earth Museum. And you can see those today. They will be available for viewing right here in Tishomingo. A dozen or so of the portraits are open for view on the second floor of the Chickasaw Nation Capitol Building.

The interviews of those portrayed have been compiled into a book. Now, this book was launched Thursday evening, during the arts and culture awards. It was published and released by our very own Chickasaw Press.

Mike and Martha are currently working on a second series, Elders Series II, that will convey the spirit and stories of Chickasaws from places near and far.

I mention the Chickasaw press. The Chickasaw Press has had an amazing second year.

In addition to the Elders Book, two other books – A Biography of Edmund Pickens by Juanita Tate and Picked Apart the Bones, a poetry book by Rebecca Hatcher Travis, were available for a book signing Thursday night, and they will be available today in the Press Tent.

The Chickasaw Press is currently working on production of a companion piece of the wonderful first release that we had: Chickasaw: Unconquered and Unconquerable. And this new book will be entitled Chickasaw Renaissance.

Chickasaw Renaissance will feature the photography again of the wonderful photographer David Fitzgerald and will have real stories of Chickasaw people; their experiences will be represented in vibrant images, both historical and contemporary, in this new book.

This book is scheduled for publication next year. Also next year is Richard Green’s Chickasaw Lives, volume II, which gives an insight to modern Chickasaw people.

Together, the oral histories, the photographs, the works of art – they weave the tapestry of Chickasaw life.

Also, we might take a moment and congratulate Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham on her just recently released new work, a book entitled, The National Museum of the American Indian, Critical Conversations.

Let’s give her a nice round of applause.

Now you might have noticed that I went through all these names, and I didn’t have these people stand. But we are going to, okay. And it’s time to recognize the folks that have done such outstanding work. And I’m going to mention their names.

I’m going to have Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham stand again.

Richard Green, if he is in the audience.

David Fitzgerald. He’s in the corner here.

Rebecca Hatcher Travis. I think she was in the back here.

Juanita Tate. She had joined us earlier. I’m not sure…she’s back here, too.

Mike Larsen, and his wife Martha. Are you in the audience? Mike and Martha…back over here.

We have Courtney Parchcorn. Courtney are you in the audience this morning? …Back here.

And Kate Duty and Wyas Parker. Are you in the audience? Okay.

Now let’s also recognize anybody in the audience who maybe participated, either in the paintings or are one of the people who were painted, or if you were a part of one of the big camps we had this year – whether it be softball, baseball, or cultural camps. Please, everybody stand, and let’s let them be recognized.

The history of the Chickasaw Nation contains some very note-worthy people and some exciting stories. One such person was Pearl Carter Scott.
Although she is very missed and not with us today, her story lives on in the stories told about her life.

For those who never had the privilege of knowing Pearl, she was really a unique spirit….very much so. She began driving at the age of 12. Now that was a time when vehicles themselves were an oddity, and then became the youngest pilot in the United States. And she had her first solo flight when she was 13 years old.

Now, you’ve heard us talk many times about Pearl. And Pearl did many things to contribute to the Chickasaw people, as well. She served her tribe as one of the first community health representatives, and she served three terms as a tribal legislator.

And it really gives me pleasure today to announce that a movie is under production – “Pearl” is the name of it. I’d like to give you a little idea of what to expect. Actually, right now there shooting the movie, but we have a short trailer for you to give you a little taste of what that movie is like…

(Movie Trailer for “Pearl”)

Congratulations to the production team. They’re from our very own division of communications, and we are looking forward to seeing the finished work.

We should premiere “Pearl” next year, but there is already much excitement and speculation about this phenomenal production.

Pearl has some family members that are here with us today. I would like for them to stand. Let’s recognize them.

Wasn’t it amazing how much the young lady looked like what I think Pearl would look like when she was that age?

Our elders – we hold them all in high esteem. No amount of gratitude is enough to show our love and respect for all they do and all that they’ve done.

We care for our elders in as many ways as we can.

One way is through helping to provide medication. We have an Over the Counter Medication program, and it provided services to many Chickasaws. And it did so last year – there were about 6000 prescriptions that were distributed locally in the Chickasaw Nation area, and another 600 that were distributed to folks at large. And that was at no cost to our elders.

As you saw in the video earlier, this past Memorial Day weekend the Division on Aging escorted 14 Chickasaw World War II veterans to Washington D.C.

These Chickasaw’s – let’s give them another round of applause. We can never, ever recognize them enough! These Chickasaws serve as a living testament to future generations. Their lives, and the services they performed for their country and for us – they exemplify the strength of character, and the commitment to family, friends and this great nation that we live in.

I would also like to take a moment and congratulate Flora Perry and Don Somers. Now these two Chickasaw Seniors were selected at a national meeting as Outstanding Indian Elder for 2008 at this 10th Annual American Indian Elders Conference. Let’s congratulate them.

Elders are important to us. They are our treasured ones.

It is wonderful that our seniors stay so active.

The senior nutrition sites have grown tremendously.

Continuing to work with elders to provide the services and opportunities they need and want so as to maintain a long, healthy and active life is truly our honor.

This past year, the planning and development process for an elder’s community retirement center began, the first of which will be in Ardmore on the same campus as the health clinic and senior nutrition site.

Our elders are a most precious and revered people. Their memories serve as a window to our past, our traditions, our history and our culture.

We know that preservation of Chickasaw culture has been brought to life through the new Chickasaw Cultural Center under construction in Sulphur.

The exhibits and the experiences that will be found in this cultural center are a direct result of the information provided by thousands of Chickasaws. This is truly your cultural center.

If you were there last evening, you saw a little bit of what is to come. But here is a little bit more…

(Video of the Chickasaw Cultural Center)

Here to tell us more about the Cultural Center is Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham from the Division of History and Culture…Amanda…

(Dr. Cobb)

Chukma. Sa hoschifo (Hello. My name is) Amanda Cobb-Greetham, and it is my pleasure today to speak to you a little bit about the Chickasaw Cultural Center.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center will provide a place for Chickasaw citizens to embrace, revitalize and share Chickasaw history, culture and traditions.

It’s a state-of-the-art campus, and it features architectural elements, such as native stone, wood and copper and provides a beautiful setting for exhibits, cultural demonstrations and events.

The CCC – and I hope that many of you were there last night – the CCC is located on 109 beautiful acres of rolling woodlands, right next door to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur.

It use live performances, high-technology multimedia, as well as exhibits and many galleries to share the story of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation.

The campus will initially be comprised of three buildings, which totaled 96,000 square feet: first, the Chikashsha Poya Exhibit Center, second, the Anoli Theater, which also features the Aaimpa’ Café; and an administration building which features a retail center.

The campus also includes a traditional Chickasaw village, which is where we held our cultural evening last night, an outdoor amphitheatre, and a sky pavilion, which is really a special feature – it overlooks the traditional village and is encased in glass - and water features go throughout the campus.

Now, inside the Chikashsha Poya Exhibit Center – the exhibits in there are really something special and different from what you’ve seen before. We have a re-creation of an 18th century Council House, and that serves as our orientation theater.

Then, visitors will walk through what we call the Spirit Forest, which has life-like trees and represents our most ancient culture.

Then, visitors will experience the removal leading to Indian Territory and finally end with a very unique stomp dance exhibit.

A special addition to the Chickasaw Cultural Center will be – in addition to the outdoor theater and the amphitheater – is the Aba’ Aanowa Skywalk Pavilion. And that’s what I was just telling you about, and I really, really hope that you make the most of that. It gives a wonderful view of our traditional village.

I’d like to take just a moment to explain the Chickasaw logo to you.

Its design is composed of three elements - the Spiral, the Sun and the Sacred Eye.

The Spiral symbolizes the wind. Like the wind, we are reminded of the many, many journeys of our people and our tribe and our movement.

The Sacred Eye represents the eye of the creator, Aba’ Binnilli, or the All-Seeing Eye. Watching and protecting his children, the eye gives us a glimpse into what the all-knowing Creator sees.

The Sun is an ancient symbol that signifies rebirth or renewal, and it also represents the giver of light and of knowledge.

We hope for the CCC to be a home for all people of the Chickasaw Nation, to learn, revitalize, and share our unique culture.

Now, because the Chickasaw Cultural Center will serve as a sort of "home,” we want all citizens to contribute something to the building of it in some way.

Therefore, this annual meeting marks the very beginning of a special, year-long time capsule event, called the Ittakatpachi time capsule.

Now, because the time capsule is small, and because we have many, many citizens, we are asking that you contribute to the time capsule in one of three ways:

First, by writing a letter, a memory or story on one of the time capsule note cards which you will find in your festival bag.

Two, by contributing a photograph, or three, by contributing a quilt square.

The quilt squares, fifty years from now, in 2059, will be pieced together. Ittakatpachi l literally means to be pieced together like a quilt. And we believe that as we are individuals, who make Chickasaw families, who make Chickasaw communities, and together – pieced together like squares of a quilt – we make our people, our tribe, the Chickasaw Nation.

In the Chickasaw history and culture tent on the festival grounds, you’ll be able to contribute to the time capsule today, and you can contribute for an entire year. Guidelines will be available in the Chickasaw Times and online. And then we’ll close and bury the capsule at the grand opening of the Chickasaw Cultural Center in 2009.

So thank you very much, and we sincerely hope that you take the time to participate in this event by making the CCC your home, by being a part of our history and by making history as part of this event. I look forward to seeing you all at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Chukmashi.

(Governor Anoatubby)

Thank you very much, Amanda.

How many in the audience had an opportunity to attend the event last night. Well, that’s okay. Don’t you think that was good? Did you enjoy yourself? It’s really just a taste of what it’s going to be like. If you were impressed last evening, I think you well be extremely impressed when it’s all completed.

You can see how passionate Amanda is about this work. And the reason she’s passionate is because we should be. We should be passionate about our history and our culture. There are so many volumes of things that are written about Native Americans. There are so many things about Native Americans that have become kind of a standard that really are not true, and particularly about Chickasaw. So we look forward to it.

We have two additional features that are being added to the campus, and if you were there last evening you saw, I think, three buildings on site. There might have been a maintenance building as well, plus the village. But there is one under construction that is called the Holisso Center, and there is also a plan for a performing arts center. Now, Lona Barrick’s going to love that because… I think she’s already applauding over that.

But, of course as I mentioned, the Holisso Center is under construction, and it’s for the study of Chickasaw History and Culture, and we’ve had a dream to have this for many years. And it will house an extensive archeological and genealogical collection, as well as photo archives and historic papers.

It will be a clearinghouse for the study of Southeastern tribal cultures and our histories. The center also provides for the preservation of items which have historic value for Chickasaw people.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center provides more than just a meeting place. It’s more than a place for celebration. It’s more than a place for demonstrations. It’s more than a place for learning and sharing. While it’s all of those things, this center serves as a home for all Chickasaws.

A home is a safe place, a place where families grow, a place where memories are made and a place we can all call our own.

Affordable, quality housing for Chickasaws continues to be one of the top priorities of our team.

This year, more than 57 families became homeowners and 169 mortgages were closed.

In addition, nearly 200 families were assisted with down payment and closing cost – making it possible for some to purchase their very first home.

You know, in the wake of a very problematic mortgage crisis in this country, we don’t have this same problem in this program.

While Chickasaw funds are not actually utilized to fund mortgages. Since the inception of the program in 1999, we have facilitated more than 696 home loans valued at more than $61 million. And the default rate, as I mention, is only .03%, which is much, much less than the national average.

Now the reasons: we work diligently to prepare our Chickasaw families through extensive personal financing and budgeting education. And we do this prior to the time of the close of the loan.

We work hard to set up every family, every Chickasaw family, for successful homeownership.

In addition, 747 families are currently being assisted in rental programs.

Also – and pay attention to the states – Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas… over 1,500 storm shelters that were installed. Now I think they call that Tornado Alley…people really appreciate the storm shelters.

You know, we always need safety and security. We need confidence that our streets and our schools, and our public places and our work environments are secure. And this is one aspect of society that we can feel good about.

The Lighthorse Police Department has made significant progress this year.

One major focus has been cross-deputation and also training. Our nation’s physical area – and we’re talking about the Chickasaw Nation, which is some 7,600 square miles – and that’s a lot of ground. And together the Lighthorse Police Department and the surrounding police departments are keeping our communities safe.

Cross-deputation…these agreements have taken place in Ardmore, Newcastle, Wilson and Healdton.

Lighthorse Officers play, not only that role, but they play another important role- they are peace keeper, for sure - but there also mentors and role models for our youth.

Two hundred and sixty students completed training in D.A.R.E. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. And G.R.E.A.T. - which is Gang Resistance Education and Training - they did this in four separate school districts.

Additionally the LHPD conducted its first ever youth Police Academy. Let’ also take a moment, because just yesterday I received an e-mail. And that e-mail said that, Jason O’Neil, our Lighthorse Police Chief, has been named Police Chief of the Year by the Nation Native Law Enforcement Association. Congratulations, Jason.

We have a great team, and the Lighthorse Police Department certainly fits right into that team. I would like to take this moment to, with great admiration and respect, thank them for their service to the Chickasaw Nation.

Through the benefits of great management, planners and business developers - the Chickasaw Nation has created and established some very successful businesses. The revenue from these industries serve our people in very many ways.

With more than 60 businesses as part of the operations, there is no doubt that the tribe is doing quite well.

With this sound investment and good management, businesses will continue to grow and produce the revenue necessary to sustain our government operations and programs and services.

The times are exciting. The most profitable business that we have is WinStar World Casinos. It’s located on the Texas/Oklahoma border.

If you haven’t visited there recently or maybe you did – if you’ve driven by, you probably saw the construction and the growth that’s going on in that area.

In December, this year, we will open the most recent expansion of this facility, which will make it one of the five largest casinos in the world.

Part of the expansion is the new RV park, convention space that will be there, 400 new hotel rooms. And they’re adding some recreation facilities, like tennis courts, basketball court, of course we have to play horse shoes – Governor James, we have to toss horse shoes- we’re going to have horseshoes, and tent camping. And at WinStar it’s our intention and we truly believe that it will be a premier destination point.

Gaming has provided a lot for us, and we’re quite thankful for that. Gaming is a springboard… we know that gaming can be quite volatile.

Part of the plan for a sustainable economy, which will be far into the future, calls for diversification. And in order to do that we must have other kinds of enterprise and industry.

Now, we’ve already done some of that. There is success in several of those businesses. We have Solara Healthcare, Chickasaw Nation Industries and Bank2. They’re very successful.

Solara Health Care has been a good solid business and has had good solid growth. We have eight long term acute care hospitals, operating throughout several states. And we have employment of about 1000 people in Solara.

Chickasaw Nation Industries - and around the office we call them CNI…everything gets and acronym – and they continue to be successful. CNI has reorganized and streamlined. They’ve done this in their operations, and it has resulted in a significant increase in their profits for this year.

New contracts have been established with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Army, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and more government agencies.

Bank2 continues to provide fantastic service in the banking industry. Now, they’ve concentrated a lot in home loans for Native Americans, and it’s doing quite well. And it may,… it IS on its way to becoming the this Nations – now where talking about the United States - number one Native American home lender.

The businesses of the Chickasaw Nation continue to provide a solid economic platform from which we are able to provide services and programs.

A top priority for all Chickasaw people is health care. This year there is more good news… Great strides have been made in the advancement of the health system.

In July, Carl Albert Indian Health Facility underwent its first “surprise” Joint Commission Survey inspection. I am proud to announce that our facility passed the intense 4-day scrutiny with flying colors and earned full accreditation for another 3 years.

And they’re always looking for new ways to serve, and an historic contract has been made with the new Oklahoma Cancer Center. We were the first tribe to reach an agreement to provide cancer management for our patients.

This year, the youth and family services, education and health divisions teamed up to form a partnership with the University of Oklahoma for planning and preparation to establish the Chickasaw Family Resource Center.

The resource center will focus on a variety of areas to improve family wellness and will serve as a learning community for Chickasaw students working toward degrees in areas such as social work, counseling, marital or family therapy, social science, health care and other areas related to family services.

Making services assessable and convenient is very important.

We’ve developed a Prescription Refill Center… I talked to you about that last year, but they’ve set up now an automated phone-in and also internet lines. And they’re fully functional through the Pharmacy Refill Center.

Now the patients are also using the mailing system as well. And I understand that the mail order volume of prescription refills has more than doubled.

Other exciting news is that the Chickasaw Nation Health System has been selected for the Innovations in Planned Care II grant.

This grant will allow the health staff, the CNHS staff, to receive extensive support, training and technical assistance from experts with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. We can always stand to improve.

One of the goals of the grant is to build sustainable infrastructure for the spread of innovation and improvement throughout the Indian Health Care System.

This is an important step for our health system.

Right here in Tishomingo, we opened the outpatient physical therapy portion of our wellness center.

Last year, we shared some information, also, about the new hospital being built in Ada.

We have broken ground. The facility is under construction, and we are well on our way to having the finest Indian health facility in all the Country.

I have asked Bill Lance, who’s the CNHS administrator, to report on the construction progress. What we can expect Bill?

(Bill Lance)

Over six years ago, we dreamed about the type of health services our Chickasaw people wanted and needed. We knew that to improve health care delivery, a new state of the art hospital would be required.

After completing comprehensive planning to include financing the largest capital project in the history of the Chickasaw Nation, Governor Anoatubby signed a contract with Flintco Construction on August 15, 2007.

November 9, 2007 was a monumental day as we celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and Flintco commenced construction with grading and excavation on November 12.

The progress on construction has been remarkable.

The last of the 442 concrete underground piers were installed by July 2, 2008, and to date 200,000 square feet of the estimated 500,000 square feet of concrete flooring has been poured.

Structural steel erection started in June and is nearing completion with a total quantity of 2,800 tons of steel.

The project is on schedule and 39% complete, with the date of substantial completion remaining as January, 2010.

The construction contract remains within budget.

The new hospital is 370,000 sq. ft. and is triple the size of the existing CAIHF.

Total exam rooms will increase from 37 to 84 rooms.

Women’s Health services remain a high priority with the establishment of Women’s imaging with mammography, ultrasound and bone scan technologies.

Today we deliver 70 babies a month, and the new facility will have four state-of-the-art labor rooms.

Our doctors will have the latest in healthcare technology to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of our patients, including CAT scan and MRI.

Spiritual healing is a vital part of our culture.

The new facility will have a beautiful chapel and a healing garden area.

All inpatient and outpatient clinics will transition to the new hospital once it is opened.

New services include: rheumatology, teleradiology, telemedicine, podiatry, and cardiology.

With our existing cardiology services, we send many patients with heart disease to Oklahoma City for an invasive heart cath to evaluate the degree of heart disease.

Through new planned technologies we will be able to perform a noninvasive, safe cat scan of the heart and determine the health of the heart and reduce the number of risky cardiac cath to our patients.

The new hospital will be the hub with all health information technology fully integrated to all satellite clinics.

The technologies include: teleradiology, telemedicine, video conferencing and Web-based patient education.

Once completed, the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center will be the largest Indian Health Service or tribal health care facility in the United States.

(Governor Anoatubby)

Wow, there are so many folks excited about this, and I’m one of them. It’s really outstanding. It’s taken a lot of teamwork, and there have been a kit if meetings to bring this concept to a reality. It’s been a dream, a dream come true.

The successful communication of needs has resulted in the creation of what is soon to be a fantastic state-of-the-art facility.

Spending time with Chickasaws here at the Annual Meeting and fellow Chickasaws who do quite nearby the tribal headquarters – it’s been a wonderful experience.

This past year we had seven gatherings, and they took place from places like Waco, Texas – I knew there was somebody here from Waco. We had folks at Bakersfield, California and Portland, Oregon. We went all across the country. And they shared with us. We came together and they shared their experiences, and we reconnected.

There were nearly 2,000 Chickasaws that attended these gatherings across the country.

We also had more than 300 Chickasaws that joined us in Oklahoma City in February for the 2nd Chickasaw Listening Conference.

During that conference, ideas were exchanged, and we received feedback on services that we had implemented after the first Listening Conference.

We have had wonderful fellowship also with Chickasaws within the Nation boundaries at our community dinners. This year, we hosted dinners in Madill, Duncan, Tishomingo, Sulphur and Newcastle.

Communication has been cited as a high priority among Chickasaws.

This year, we are concentrating on everything we can and every way possible to make communications with Chickasaws easier and more effective than ever.

Now, because we live so many different places, that communication sometimes becomes pretty difficult. So we’re working very diligently to improve that. We’ve also launched a new Website. It has new features and there is new information readily available at your fingertips
In addition to the Website, the Chickasaw Nation recently acquired an FM public radio station frequency.

We are excited about the opportunities that will available to us there.

We will be broadcasting news, interviews with officials and we will be taking questions from Chickasaws all around the country. You say, how is that going to happen? Well, I’ll tell you in a minute.

Many topics will be discussed, to include: health care, culture, history, arts, humanities - those kind of things that Chickasaws want to talk about.
We will be able to share information with Chickasaws in real time and interact together.

We hope to begin broadcasting towards the end of this fiscal year, and we hope to make many of these broadcasts available thru our website. And that is one way that we will be able to communicate with Chickasaws all around the country.

Also, you should have received, or if you haven’t, very soon you’ll receive the new programs and services directory. And it will be mailed if you haven’t received it yet.

Building better relationships is what communications and our Communications Division is all about.

Good communication always results in the clarification of ideas, the understanding of specific needs and, eventually, the reality of a service or program or the improvement of a service or program.

Through this process we’ve grown, and we’ve grown in a positive direction. Facilities have been built to better accommodate the growing needs of our communities, to assist our citizens…to fulfill our mission.

I’ve asked today that Wayne Scribner, who heads up the Division of Housing and Tribal Development, to tell us a little bit about some of this growth. Wayne Scribner…

(Wayne Scribner)

Thank you, Governor.

A great deal of time and effort has gone into completed projects, as well as those under construction.

One particular project that’s very near completion is the McSwain Theatre in downtown Ada.

This project should be completed in November of this year.

The McSwain renovation will provide the community with a wonderful entertainment venue.

For years, the McSwain amused and charmed its visitors.

When completed, the renovated theatre will once again be filled with laughter.

The Duncan Area Office is being renovated, and is about 80% complete.

I am glad to report that the Douglas H. Johnston Building is very near completion. This is the education administrative building, and it’s currently about 95% complete and should be finished in about November of this year.

This 31,000-square-foot facility will serve as the new home for the Division of Education.

The child care project, which is our Child Development Center, will be completed in March of the upcoming year also.

Two other buildings just got their start, as they are early in the construction phase…

The Legislative Building and the Judicial Building are both in Ada, and they’re near headquarters – if you’re not familiar with that, they are just north of Headquarters. They should reach their completion stages in October of 2009.

The 13,880 square foot Chickasaw Nation legislative facility will include office space for each legislator, conference room and a meeting room for the general sessions.

The 15,610 square foot Chickasaw Nation Supreme Court and District Court building will include two courtrooms, two conference/jury rooms, as well as offices for the Supreme Court justices, a district court judge and a court clerk.

New construction, remodels as well as renovation, are only a part of what the Division of Housing and Tribal Development does.

Our citizens can take heart in the fact that we are looking out for their safety and assuring that our facilities are second to none.

Our staff has just completed a two and a half year process to become the first Native American tribe in the United States, and the only building department in the state of Oklahoma, to receive an international accreditation for a building department and code enforcement.

I know we’re really, really proud of this. If I can take just a second here… there are only seven states across the United States that have a department that has this accreditation. We’re the only ones in the State of Oklahoma. And this accreditation comes to us from the International Accreditation Service and the International Code Council.

Thank you.

(Governor Anoatubby)

Thank you, Wayne, and congratulations on their designation…

It always helps to have someone know what they’re doing building a building, right? You would hate for it to fall down on you.

You know, I really appreciate your patience, and I know this has run quite lengthy today. We had so much to talk to you about, and there is still a lot more that we could talk to you about. We try to share as much as we can and still not keep you too long. And we do appreciate your staying around and listening, because it’s important, again, that communication. And you can tell – you can see that we have a lot to be thankful for.

We reflect, and we examine the progress that we’ve been made this past year. And it’s just… it seems like every year there is something new and innovative – something that has taken place that really is important.

And I just want to tell you, folks, that I really do appreciate very much having the opportunity to be your governor.

It’s a really cool joy. We get to do a lot of different things. And I want to tell you a little story. I don’t want to embarrass my grandson, but last night when we were at the Cultural Event. We were leaving, and we were going up the hill after it was over. He turned around to me, and he said, “Papa, I really like your job.”

Well, folks, I really like it too, and it has been so rewarding.

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Chickasaws, the state of the Chickasaw Nation is strong. And with your help, we will continue to get stronger.
We know we still have much to do.

And we expect to encounter obstacles and challenges in the future. However, as always, when we plan, we plan to meet them head on, face to face, and will continue to work diligently toward meet our mission.

We are united in our cause. We plan to succeed in every way. We focus on building a better future for the great unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation!

Thank you very much.