2011 State of the Nation Address

Let's celebrate!
Governor Bill Anoatubby
10/1/2011 3:17:00 PM

2011 State of the Nation


Good morning. Chokma, nittaki chokma! Himmak nittakat Chikashshiyaakni' nittak chokma. Chikasha poyaka chokma.) Liiholiitoblichi! (Good morning! It is a great day in the Chickasaw Nation! A great day to be Chickasaw! Let's celebrate!)

This is a day that we celebrate all that makes our nation and our people strong. It has been a wonderful week, a great week in the Chickasaw Nation! Our people have connected, reconnected, have laughed and have celebrated. It is truly a great day to be Chickasaw!

And like the others that have been at the podium, I take this opportunity to welcome everyone. All of you who are here in this auditorium, those folks that are in the tent, and those folks who are listening on KCNP 89.5 which is also streaming on the internet, and for those people on Chickasaw.net who are actually watching video and listening to the audio of this annual meeting. Now isn't that cool! That's cool that they have been able to see and hear all that has happened this morning. We all can't be here for the event for one reason or another; maybe distance is the reason and that is part of why we offered this opportunity for other people who can't be here to share. I appreciate all the folks who joined us here today.

This last year, we hoped to engage children at a younger level in language, culture, education and nutrition, so, we created, an online platform. We call it Chickasaw Kids. Today we have some special guests who have joined us.

Welcome Nashoba, Pakali and Ofi' – the Chickasawkids.com characters.

Chickasawkids.com launched in July. This interactive website is designed to teach children all about the Chickasaw Nation in a fun and entertaining way.

Nashoba, the Chickasaw word for wolf, and Pakali, the Chickasaw word for flower, were named online and they were done by the children who visited the site, and also Ofi is the Chickasaw word for dog.

You will have a chance to meet them personally after the parade. They will be stationed in the park throughout the day, so come out and meet the newest addition to the Chickasaw Nation team!

Liiholiitoblichi – Let's Celebrate
Wow, isn't it a great day to be Chickasaw!?! We have so much to be thankful for and grateful and to celebrate. Each milestone we have is worthy of celebrating. Remembering our small victories, as well as our major ones, it binds us together as a people.

This year marks 40 years since having the first popular election, after statehood, of our governor. The Chickasaw Foundation celebrates its 40th anniversary this year! This is the 51st annual meeting and our 23rd festival! It has been 155 years since our ancestors met at Pennington Creek, right here near Tishomingo, to ratify our first constitution of the Chickasaw Nation, and here we stand today a strong prosperous nation because of their fortitude, their determination and their vision!

This is all worth celebrating today, so Let's Celebrate! Let's get excited about the advancements we have made and the successes that are still to come!

Progress Report
The Chickasaw Nation has made unprecedented progress over the years, and this year was no different! Every program and service is designed to provide opportunity for us to improve our lives. A question we ask ourselves when considering a new endeavor or a new program is “Will this benefit the Chickasaw People?” “How will this improve the overall quality of life of Chickasaw people?” That concept is the driving force behind everything that we do. And that mindset is the reason we are celebrating today!

Today, I am proud to report to you that the state of the Chickasaw Nation is strong. Our tribal economy is strong and thriving. Through sound fiscal management of our resources and good stewardship, the Chickasaw Nation has continued to grow and prosper in spite of the economic situation that the rest of the country has faced. Our businesses have continued to flourish and more importantly, we have continued to add new programs and services designed to serve Chickasaw people.

We always celebrate and lift up our elders. It has been done already today, and we can't do it enough. Let's also celebrate our elders once again. There have been a number of new advances throughout this year that have occurred in the division on aging. We have completed, and hopefully it is one of many, the Chickasaw Elder Independent Living Apartments. And, I am inviting Karen Cook, who is the division on aging administrator to come up and tell you a little bit more.

Following are comments from Karen Cook

Thank you, Governor.

This has been an exciting year for the Division on Aging. Each year we are able to provide additional opportunities for our elders to increase the quality of their lives. The most exciting, as Governor Anoatubby mentioned, is the Chickasaw Elder Independent Living Apartments in Ardmore. The apartments have been designed to feel more like true homes rather than just an apartment. There are eight units; each has one bedroom, one bath, a kitchen with all appliances provided. Safety was a major concern when we were developing the apartments, so each apartment is completely handicap accessible and has non-skid floors.

The apartments are located on the Ardmore campus and are within walking distance of the senior center, the wellness center, nutrition services and the health clinic. We are currently taking applications, and priority is given to Chickasaw elders. We are excited to announce we now have elders living in the apartments, and we still have a few apartments available. We encourage all Native American elders to apply. Thank you.

Governor Anoatubby resumes his comments

Thanks a lot, Karen. Karen and her group, they do a wonderful, a great job working with the senior programs. It is a real pleasure, also, to report that we are in the process of constructing two new senior sites. One is in Connerville, and the other one is in Ardmore.

These sites will include a kitchen. But in addition, they have a computer room and a dining room and an arts and crafts room. Both facilities have a large room for exercising and for socializing. The one in Connerville will have a safe room, and in Ardmore there is already a large storm shelter that is onsite nearby, so they already have that. We are expecting to complete these in the spring of 2012.

We will soon open another one in Colbert. We purchased a building in Colbert so we could renovate it for a new senior site. The remodeling plans are underway, and the new senior center should open toward the end of this year, so there is another site. As far as I am concerned, we cannot do enough for our senior citizens. We will continue to work to improve that program.

Housing and safe homes continue to be high priorities as well. We offer a lot of opportunities for Chickasaws to successfully attain home ownership, as well as rental assistance, home improvement grants and storm shelter installation. In fact, to date the Chickasaw Nation has installed more than 2,300 storm shelters or safe rooms at the homes of our citizens.

More than 750 families have benefitted from the down payment/closing cost assistance grants since started that in 2007.Through home ownership programs, budget and loan counseling services, maintenance, home improvement services and rental programs, we continue to work towards quality housing for all Chickasaws.

Providing an opportunity for a quality education is one of the best ways to prepare for the future. Education continues to be a high priority. From Head Start to career placement to on-the-job-training and every step in between, the Chickasaw Nation has a multitude of services to assist with education, testing and internship.

We awarded a total of more than 15.5 million in grants, and that's dollars – 15.5 million dollars – in grants, scholarships, incentives and other educational assistance to our students this last fiscal year.

This year marked the opening of the Chickasaw Nation Science, Technology and Math Academy. In this world of technology, it is critical, absolutely critical, that we be prepared with the skills to creatively solve problems and participate in a constantly changing economy. This innovative facility provides our youth new opportunities to explore the fields of science, math and engineering.

You have heard about our robotics teams and the Lego league, and the importance this type of hands-on, exploratory learning, and how it plays a very important role in a child's development. We continue to expand this concept, and we add additional teams throughout the Chickasaw Nation. Our Metal Mayhem, the older group, they reached the finals of the F-I-R-S-T Robotics Oklahoma Regional tournament. Let's congratulate them.

Programs such as these, as well as scholarships, grants and educational incentives encourage youth to make the most of opportunities available to them. For instance, more than 3,700 Chickasaw students are members of the Chickasaw Honor Club. They are able to join the Chickasaw Honor Club because they receive good grades, or they have perfect attendance or outstanding achievements, and along with that they get incentives. It helps incentivize our children to make great grades.

Youth and Family
"These children are tomorrow's leaders…" Now this saying will always ring true, no matter the decade in which it is said or the person who is saying it. It is true, and it is incumbent upon us to prepare them to lead this great nation into the next century.

We strive to provide opportunities to our youth that will empower them with character, with confidence and belief in themselves that with integrity, hard work and perseverance, they will be successful. To be prepared to lead, one must have a strong sense of who we, the Chickasaw people, are -- where we have been and where our nation continues to go.

To share with us the results of some of our efforts, please welcome the administrator of our youth and family division, Mr. Jay Keel.

Following are comments from Jay Keel

One of our goals at the division of youth & family services is to provide Chickasaw children opportunities to succeed in every aspect of their lives ... at home, school and play. This is done by ensuring that each child has a safe and stable family life, so that they have the opportunity to succeed in their education as well as all other endeavors. All of these things build character, confidence and capacity in our future leaders!

Each year more and more children participate in the many camps, clinics and academies that we offer. More than 1,500 youth spent unforgettable moments in the areas of leadership development, culture, sports, science and math, entrepreneurship, the environment and the arts. This past year, 10,000 Chickasaw students from ages 3 to 18 were awarded a $200 clothing grant to help them prepare for their studies.

We are excited to announce plans for a transitional living center - Chukka Chaffa Kilimpi - or Strong Family - to help young people and their families combat substance abuse and associated issues. The program is currently in the development stages and more details will be available in the coming months.

The Chickasaw Children's Village continues to exceed our expectations. The Children's Village is a residential and educational care facility for Native American children and youth. The 160 acre campus provides a safe and nurturing home for children living in at-risk communities.
Also, our Foster Care and Adoption program completed 32 adoptions this past year. But, many more of our children are in need of placement in loving families, so we continue to work hard on their behalf.

The stability of a nation begins in the home, and it is the mission of the division of youth & family services to help strengthen families and in turn strengthen this nation! Thank you, Governor.

Governor Anoatubby resumes his comments

Thanks a lot Jay. Again, a division that does a great work, and we appreciate you.

A quote I recently heard summarizes the importance of this year's theme for the festival – "The more you praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate." Life is a celebration! Living is worth praise, and living well is worth even greater praise!

The health of our nation is a direct result of the health of our people. We must do all that we can to promote wellness from the inside out. We have challenged our workforce and we challenged our citizens to be healthier. Through the years, the Chickasaw Nation has launched several health initiatives to challenge our citizens and employees to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

The Chickasaw Nation was recently recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart Association for promoting overall health and wellness among tribal employees. We want to make being healthy fun… and we have several more health initiatives planned for the coming years.

In the works is a new activity complex in Ada, and I appreciate the Chickasaw Legislature for passing that development budget. Let's give the legislature a nice round of applause for partnering in this. Now this activity center will consist of softball fields, a scorehouse and a concession area. It will have a playground and a half basketball court. We are also planning to add tennis courts behind the wellness center in Tishomingo. The gym located behind the headquarters building in Ada will also receive a makeover. It will be transformed it into a functioning basketball gymnasium once again! These are just a few of the projects we planned that will provide opportunities to have fun while being active….sometimes we become healthy and don't even know it, because we have a good time while we become healthy.

The division of health continues to work toward the improvement of quality health care for Chickasaw people. This past July, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center. In just one year of being open for business in the new medical center, we have already seen incredible improvements across the health system. Let's invite Dr. Judy Goforth-Parker to the podium to elaborate.

Following are comments from Dr. Judy Goforth-Parker

Thank you, Governor. It has been a very busy year in the division of health. We celebrated our one-year anniversary by making many improvements to the services that we offer our patients. We are happy to report that we have decreased the wait time in the emergency department by 44 percent over this past year. We have hired 20 new medical staff that includes seven physicians, six mid-level providers, four dentists, two CRNA's and an optometrist as well. We implemented and are implementing an audio patient reminder system throughout our clinics. Now patients will receive a phone call or a message reminding them of upcoming appointments. A new, free valet service is offered to patients visiting the medical center.

Our patients are our number one concern. We are working diligently to improve and provide the very best care possible. Of course, we are still making adjustments to streamline admitting patients to the medical center and to our many clinics. And we feel we are improving the overall quality of life of the citizens that we serve.

As governor mentioned, we continue to provide new opportunities for wellness and good health to our employees and citizens across our nation. Governor Anoatubby this past year has taken the lead in improving health for himself as well as the Chickasaw Nation. We have very proudly watched Governor Anoatubby as he initiated over these last two years an implementation of healthy eating and exercise, and he has lost almost 65 pounds. That is something for all of us to be proud of. He looks great, and I know that he feels great, because he told me that….Isn't that right, Governor? We just want to thank you, and we appreciate you very much.

Governor Anoatubby resumes his comments

The health system team, they do a great job. We have some highly professional people who have been trained to be doctors and nurses and all kinds of specialties, and they do a wonderful job.

This year has been a great year for the division of health. With the new facility, they have been able to function better. We have more staff, and things are working better. At first, it was a little bit rough, and I think Judy would be certainly one of the first to recognize it. You move into the new facility, and you got some new people, and it takes a little while for that to adjust, but today they have made the adjustment. They are doing just a wonderful job.

Now you may remember, I think probably that you do, that in order to get this state-of-the art medical center, when we did, we issued $90 million in bonds. That's a lot of money, but in addition to that we invested another $60 million from tribal cash flow. Now this allowed the project, for us to have this state-of-the art medical center ahead of the time, probably five to six years ahead of the time it would have taken us to accumulate the money in order to build a facility.

But, I want to make you a little report here. These were 25 year bonds, but every opportunity we've had, when the bonds would come up for sale, we would buy them back. And, so far, we have bought almost 50 percent of the bonds back. So that debt has gone down by almost 50 percent. Obviously there is a savings in that. Also you have reduced your liability, and you have also reduced the interest that you would ordinarily pay on those bonds. So we have had savings, and that allowed us to do a little bit more. I will explain that in just a minute. We plan to continue retiring that debt ahead of schedule.

And what I am about to tell you is that it has made way for us to build additional medical clinics. We also broke ground and began construction on two medical clinics, one in Ardmore and one here in Tishomingo. Each one of the clinics will be housed in a new and much improved facility, and both clinics will have new and expanded services. The Ardmore Clinic is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2012. It will offer new services, digital screenings, and it will have a drive-thru pharmacy. This is a 66,000 square foot facility which is about six-times the size of the original building. This building will also allow us to significantly increase the behavioral health department as well as the number of dental and medical staff that we have available. The Ardmore physical therapy will also be able to be relocated to this new clinic.

Now here in Tishomingo, we expect that facility to be completed in early 2013. Well the Ardmore Clinic started first, so it takes about the same time, so Tishomingo is just slightly behind, but I think people are going to be pretty happy about it, because it's going to be expanded to more than 53,000 square feet. And, that's about four and a half times more space than what we have now! This additional space will allow for increased services, patient access and an increased quality of care. Now we expect the staff to triple. In addition, there will be a drive-thru pharmacy. Some new services will include digital screenings, bone density scans and hearing exams.

Health care and availability of quality care continues to be one of our top priorities.

Community Servants
This past spring, we opened up the Search and Rescue Firehouse. The search and rescue firehouse and the firefighters, they participate in a variety of activities, working with many law enforcement and other agencies. Each and every firefighter and member of the search and rescue team is a volunteer! That is something for which we can be proud. These individuals work to protect us during times of emergency each and every day.

Throughout the years, this Chickasaw Nation outstanding group, the search and rescue team, has been involved in several rescue efforts throughout the nation which included the aftermath of the tornado that struck Lone Grove and also in hurricane Katrina that happened in New Orleans. They also go throughout the country, and they battle wildfires, and they have done some recently in Oklahoma, Texas and California. We need to thank them for the work that you do to serve and protect our people. Let's give them a round of applause. They are truly community servants, and we appreciate them.

History, Culture and the Arts
The division of history and culture celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Chickasaw Cultural Center this summer. To date more than 73,000 people have visited the cultural center.

The Holisso Research Center, located on campus at the cultural center, it opened its doors this summer. The Holisso Center allows study of this vast collection of materials in the hope that researchers who come here, our people that are part of our staff and other people that come and do research at this Holisso Center, will produce manuscripts, essays and articles, and hopefully books will come out of it. Part of our objective is to see more material that is generated from this activity at the Holisso Center – things that will document our history that will document our culture. It is very important. The Holisso Center has already amassed a sizeable collection, and it's a Smithsonian quality facility. More than 6,000 artifacts and more than 100 rare books are housed there.

We continue to make the revitalization of the Chickasaw language a top priority. You heard a little bit from me at the beginning of the State of the Nation. Believe me, I had to work really hard to be able to come up with those words, and we have a lot of other people who are working hard. But, we have challenged our staff, and we challenged our employees, and now we challenge our people – learn the Chickasaw language. We want to work hard together to preserve and protect this language. We have language classes that are available at Byng High School and at East Central University. We have this master/apprentice language program, and it continues to grow. Language sports camp, that's one of the more popular camps and the Children's Language Club is a thriving organization.

One considerable advance in our language efforts this past year was the launch of the Chickasaw Language App. The language app allows access to thousands of words, pronunciations and phrases. Language preservation and revitalization will continue to be a high priority.

Also this year, we opened a new Arts and Humanities building. It is 21,000 square foot facility. It houses a pottery studio, a sound studio and recording room, classrooms, workshops and a black box theater and art gallery. The building is designed to allow Chickasaws of all ages to either expand their knowledge of their art or to welcome those who, for the first time, may be exploring the world of the arts.

Art has always been and will always remain an integral part of Chickasaw heritage. We continue to break new ground and explore new frontiers in the arts. This summer, we hosted the first ever Chickasaw Chamber Music Festival. It brought together a diverse group of Native American classical composers and musicians. We appreciate Jarod Tate for helping to spearhead that event.

The Chickasaw School of Guitar began its inaugural year, and they had 12 students all learning the fundamentals of the instrument. Our students are reaching new heights in music, fashion, dance and film.

Our next full-length feature film is in the development stages, as well. You remember “Pearl.” You have been able to view that I'm sure. If you haven't, it is available on DVD, as well as it is being show at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. The next film is “Te Ata,” and it tells the riveting tale of Te Ata Thompson Fisher, a master storyteller and entertainer whose name means “bearer of the morning.” The script is being penned, and we eagerly anticipate the production of this film!

Boggy Depot
Now you may have heard about the Chickasaw Nation's new partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. In August, we signed an agreement to assume management and operations of Boggy Depot State Park. It was scheduled to close. The state had budget cuts, and they had to make a list of different things they were going to close, and the tourism department selected Boggy Depot as one of the places to close. But this land that surrounds and is part of Boggy Depot has great historical significance to the Chickasaw Nation and to the Choctaw Nations. And you may recall that the museum here in Tishomingo, the council house museum, at one time was a state historical society museum, and the same thing happened then. The museum, they were going to close it, and we said, "Don't close it. We want to keep it open."

And so they said, "Well, do you want it?"

And we said, "Sure. We'll take it." And so when that occurred, then we were able to keep it open. The same thing held true for the Chickasaw White House over at Emet, and now Boggy Depot has become available. Boggy Depot, the town, was founded by Chickasaws and that was in 1837. After removal, groups of Chickasaws helped establish the area around it. They had a post office, a church. They had a cabin there, and we plan to mark some of those locations in the park that are of historical significance to the Chickasaw people. This area once served as the temporary capitol of the Choctaw Nation. Today, the park has a fishing lake, baseball field, and picnic and playground areas and could be a destination for Chickasaw families or it could be a destination for other families. There was quite an uproar within the area whenever the state announced it was being closed. It is a popular place, particularly for people who live in the area.

The Chickasaw Nation also recently assumed operation of a state tourism information center. It is just north of the Red River. It is near the Oklahoma/Texas state line, obviously, and it's near Thackerville. We are excited about this opportunity, because it allows us to further promote our own cultural destinations. The center will also focus on promoting local festivals, state parks, other interesting destinations throughout the Chickasaw Nation and Oklahoma, as well as educate visitors about the Chickasaw Nation.

Economic Report
Our story continues to be one of progress and of growth. We celebrate our ability to steadily move forward as we pay tribute to our past and learn from our history. Each year, the success of our businesses is cause for much celebration, and this year is no different. As I have said in years past, and I hope to say for years to come…the state of the Chickasaw Nation is strong! And we all stand together in that fact. We all are Chickasaw, and we stand together and together we are strong.

Our financial gains and assets continue to improve… all of which you can see in this financial report. Now you received this when you registered today. It takes you back a number of years to show the progress that we as a tribe have enjoyed. In addition, we have an August 31st balance sheet that shows what we have done so far this year. If you will look at that you will see the progress that we've made, and there is another thing we need to note. I wanted to let you know that this year we recorded the highest ever monthly net income in the month of July. That was wonderful. Now year-to-date, the net income is 17.89 percent ahead of our plan, of our projected budget, so that's good, and we are 17.4 percent ahead of where we were this time last year, and that's cause for celebration!

Our business efforts have secured the safety and financial success of the tribe for many years to come. We continue to grow, and we continue to expand. Now one example is the WinStar World Casino and Hotel. It's bringing in a larger and more diverse crowd.

The market continues to grow, so that demands we grow and expand to capitalize on opportunities to attain increased market share and subsequently, that means increased revenues.

We are making several improvements to the world's third largest casino in order to continue the growth of our tribal economic base. An addition of 54,000 square feet is currently being constructed to include two new restaurants, more games and additional conference space. The two-story parking garage is near completion, and this year we opened the WinStar Golf Academy.

This is an appeal to golfers regardless of the skill level. It has been very, very popular since it was opened. And, what it does is it allows golfers to have a place to improve their game. Now every golfer, I think, wants to improve their game.

Global Gaming Solutions, it's a wholly owned LLC of the Chickasaw Nation, became the new owner of the Lone Star Park in Texas this summer. Now this is an exciting opportunity for the tribe, because it has the potential to reenergize not only Lone Star Park but horse racing in Texas itself, because we have experience. With a proven track record of success at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Lone Star offers a great opportunity. Remington Park just completed a major renovation, and their attendance is up and their profits are up over last year.

Now the next one is kind of sweet. I wonder if you have any idea what it is about. Well, construction of a new Bedre Chocolate Factory on Interstate 35 in Davis is expected to begin soon. Thanks again for the partnership with the Chickasaw Legislature and your vision to help move this tribe forward. This new facility will enable Bedre to continue to improve product quality and their manufacturing efficiencies. It will also create synergy with the new welcome center that will be built on the same site. In addition, the close proximity of the cultural center is expected to help generate additional sales and expand employment opportunities. And most certainly, we are always wanting to expand employment opportunities. The new Bedre Chocolate factory is expected to open in August of 2012.

The synergy that will develop between the new welcome center that's located on the southwest corner of I-35 and State Highway 7 and Bedre is great. The welcome center has the potential of luring; let's say inviting, as many as 25,000 cars off I-35 every week into the Chickasaw Nation and our destinations.

And in addition, one of those destinations that we are constructing is the new Artesian Hotel, and it is on schedule for opening in early 2013. The new Artesian Hotel will reflect and embrace the style and grandeur of the original. The hotel will include an indoor/outdoor pool, a banquet room that will house as many as 250 people. It will have a full service spa and a kid's spa and activity area. The Artesian hotel will be a natural complement to the cultural center, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Turner Falls and other attractions located in the area.

We are also going to build a visitor center across the street from the Artesian. It's on the corner of State Highway 7 and State Highway 177. And, construction on this 7,700 square foot visitor center located next to the entrance to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is expected to begin soon.
Our historical connection with the Sulphur area dates back more than 170 years. Tishomingo is our home, but we have a really close connection also with Sulphur. The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is the only national park located in the United States that was established at the request of an Indian tribe. The Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations transferred the land to the United States with the understanding that it would be preserved and protected for future generations.

This visitor's center will provide an excellent venue to encourage people to discover natural beauty, history and hospitality of this area.

Oklahoma tourism continues to grow. Tourism is a business. It's a business that benefits everyone from restaurants and retail shops to convenience stores and even farmers' markets. There is every reason to believe that investment in tourism will benefit the tribal, local and state economy far into the future.

The Chickasaw Nation continues to work hard in our business diversification efforts. The Sovereign Family Practice Clinic opened in Ada this July. This medical center provides for our employees and families who are not eligible to receive care at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center or our other health clinics. The decision to open this practice was based on a need for quality health care at an affordable price for our employees.

We strive to be progressive. We want to be innovative. We want to be forward thinking in the programs and services we offer. We stand here today, enjoying success, because of that approach. It is this work ethic that has allowed Bank2, for instance, to be named by DiversityBusiness.com as one of the top 100 Native American owned businesses in the United States. It is also why the Chickasaw Nation was voted as one of the top three employers in Oklahoma by Oklahoma Magazine, and that was a vote by the people! We strive to have productive business practices, and we are very, very thankful for the results.

We have had another great year. The state of the nation is still strong. This is because we all pull together, and we make it happen together. We are family. We have a common bond that connects us, a heritage that binds us and a culture that keeps us thriving. Each citizen, every citizen, of our tribe plays an important role, as does every tribal employee and all the people who are committed to the success of the Chickasaw Nation. We have many things to celebrate today. We also have many things that keep us striving toward all kinds of options, many tasks still need to be accomplished and many victories are yet to be won!

We are a STRONG nation…Let's celebrate that strength today. Chikasha poya. God bless the Chickasaw Nation. Chok'maishki/Yakoke