2015 State of the Nation Address

Chikasha Poya: We Are Chickasaw
Governor Bill Anoatubby
10/3/2015 8:30:43 AM

2015 State of the Nation


To all of our friends, families, fellow Chickasaws—it is really an honor to be here with you today. Isn’t it a beautiful day? And we’re having a beautiful week for sure, and it’s a great day to be Chickasaw, isn’t it?

Fifty-five years ago this month, in 1960, around 100 Chickasaws gathered for a meeting at Seeley Chapel, which is near Connerville. Their goals were simple, but incredibly important. They wanted a voice and input into the future of the tribe. They likely had no idea that day would go down in history as such a momentous occasion. They were doing what Chickasaws have always done – they were working together for Chickasaw people. It became a movement toward Chickasaw tribal self-government and self-governance.

We recently lost one of the leaders of that movement. Chickasaw Nation Governor Emeritus Overton James passed away September 16. Governor James helped lead the Chickasaw people out from under the control of the federal government into a new era of constitutional government. Half a century later, thousands of Chickasaws continue gathering to honor what has become an annual tradition, this Chickasaw Annual Meeting. The place is different; the cause is the same.

And here we are today, in Tishomingo, the historic capital of the Chickasaw Nation.  It’s another opportunity for Chickasaws to gather and to fellowship.

Once again, thank you to the city of Tishomingo, Mr. Mayor, and thank you to Murray State College madam president. Let’s welcome them and recognize them.  President Joy McDaniel and Tishomingo Mayor Tom Lokey, please stand up. We appreciate you very much. They just make us feel at home. I guess we are kind of at home, but you make us feel welcome in this community.

You probably saw most of my family here today. You met Janice, and the rest of the family here were introduced: Janice, Brendan and Preslea, Sydney, Brian, Melinda, Chloe, Chris and Becky. They are all here, you know. And I have my brother, Gene, over here too. He has joined us. Eugene, Art Paylor is looking for you. He said his wife got her knee replaced.  They wanted to talk to you.

October is a big month with annual meeting, but it is also a big month for the Anoatubbys. We have several birthdays in the month of October. We have Preslea and Sydney. We have Brendan. We have Melinda. Did I miss anybody? And guess what? This is Preslea’s birthday today. Let’s wish her a happy birthday. We can wish everybody else a happy birthday this month too. So, if October is your birthday month, congratulations.

We are fortunate to have a number of our elected officials with us today from across the state. And we also have Secretary of State Chris Benge.  Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming here today. He is also in charge of Indian Affairs. I don’t think he knew what he was getting into when he took that job. Of course, he is a Cherokee so maybe he does. You never know.  We appreciate Senator Simpson being here. He has joined us several years in a row. We also appreciate Representative McCall. Go ahead and give them a round of applause. They work hard.

Sometimes, we elect people, and we don’t realize how tough of a job they have. It is pretty tough, particularly when you get them all together. We have Representative Lisa Johnson Billy here. Lisa, come out and be recognized once again. She is our state representative, and she is about to term out, I think they call it. Is that when you serve the 12 years? Is that right? I think she may be kind of celebrating. Of course, she represented her district very well.  We are glad to have Indian Health Services Representative Admiral Meeks. I think he had another bar added on recently. So Admiral, raise your hand and be recognized. Again, we thank you!

Eddie Streater is kind of a green horn at being the regional director. We will break you in, sir. Just give us a little bit of time. We are glad to have you here today. Thank you for helping with the Oath of Office.

We are always pleased to have T.W. and Devon here and family. Of course, Danny Hilliard, Danny works with us now, as does Dan Boren. Let’s recognize both of them.

We are always pleased to have the Choctaw Nation representative Jerry Tomlinson. Thank you, Jerry, for coming.

We have witnessed today another bit of history. We have witnessed the Oath of Office for several of our legislators, a new Supreme Court justice, and I offer my congratulations to you. I know the rest of the people in this crowd offer their congratulations. I’m going to name you again: Toby Perkins, Nancy Elliott, David Woerz, Shana Tate Hammond and Scott Wood are our legislators. Let’s welcome them. A new face in the tribal government, but has been around for a while, in fact worked in state government, worked for the first lady of the state of Oklahoma Kim Henry. Let’s welcome Linda English Weeks.

And our princesses. Don’t you just love these princesses? I do. Stand up and be recognized one more time. Stand up. They are going to applaud for you.

Congratulations to you and we wish you well on your reign. These young people, they start out good, but by the time the year is up, they are really, really good! Then, they have to go. Some of them make a comeback. If they are little miss they may be junior miss next year.

We are here to talk about the Chickasaw Nation, the state of the Chickasaw Nation. That is what we are here for.

Let me say Chikasha Poya! We are Chickasaw! Chickasaws are strong! We are thriving! We honor the sacrifices and perseverance of those who came before us. We appreciate and we celebrate the blessings that we now receive.  And we look forward to the future.

Today, I will just get right to the point. I report to you that the state of the Chickasaw Nation is stronger than ever. . . and I truly believe that our Nation’s future is brighter than ever, and the best is yet to come. To some people, that sounds a bit tired, but I really believe that. We have experienced another successful year. We continue to make decisions based on careful research, sound judgment and as always, what is best for the Chickasaw people.

Our commitment to productive programs and projects that benefit Chickasaws of all ages is as strong as it has ever been. My fellow Chickasaws, we have many reasons to be thankful today.

By the way, I am especially thankful to serve as your Governor for another four years. The lieutenant governor and my team and I truly appreciate this opportunity to continue being in service to you.

Being responsible stewards of our resources, the tribe remains financially strong. We continue to see substantial gains in both our total assets and revenues. Through a careful investment strategy, our trust funds have grown from around $450,000 in 1987 to nearly $22.6 million today. This past year, tribal businesses posted impressive growth. Our income through the end of September 2015 is expected to be the most ever earned by the Chickasaw Nation. You can be sure that every dollar is dedicated to our mission – to enhance the overall quality of life of Chickasaw people.

Now, you have in your packet today. . .when you came and registered, you were given a report. This report covers the period from 1987 until fiscal year 2014. It is an audited overview of the financial information. You may notice that assets have increased each year, and in FY 2015, total assets increased by more than $200 million dollars. In this report, you’ll notice that just in one year, they increased that much.

You will also find in you packet, we do this every year, so you may see a comparison. You will also see in your packet a single sheet that brings you up to date through August 31, of where we are financially. It is the most up-to-date report we can get because Holly Easterling probably can’t get one through September 30 right now. I am teasing, Holly. Whenever you close out, it takes a little while to get the information together, but you also see a substantial gain in fiscal year 2015 through August 31.

So, by reviewing that, you’ll notice that the financial position of the tribe is strong and it’s getting stronger.

Last year, we reported that Congress had passed a law exempting certain tribal benefits from income tax. Now we struggled a little bit because we believe that the services that are delivered to the Chickasaw people should be without tax. Our people paid for these services long, long ago. This law supports tribal sovereignty by recognizing our authority to offer benefits [that] are not subject to federal taxation.

Since passage of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act just over a year ago, the IRS has ceased efforts to audit additional tribal government benefit programs. A Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee is being formed to help ensure the Act succeeds. We really appreciate Congressman Cole and Congressman Mullin who co-sponsored this important piece of legislation.

We have some great news to report. After nearly a decade of litigation between the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations and the U.S. government, we have reached a settlement. The secretary of the interior will soon be traveling to Oklahoma to commemorate and finalize a settlement agreement. At issue was the disposition of more than a million acres of Chickasaw/Choctaw forestlands.

The United States reserved the timberland from allotment. The United States sold most of those lands. We simply needed to know the details of those transactions and ultimately, if proper value was received. We knew very little, and we had not received a meaningful accounting. An accounting is what we asked for.  We did not ask for money. However, information from an accounting would have revealed any discrepancies.

After nearly a decade of litigation, and facing at least another decade, we have successfully resolved this matter and have recently agreed to settle the case for $186 million.

Now, you may have seen the news reports as soon as the documents were filed with the court. It did come out in the news. The Chickasaw part of the settlement is $46.5 million. The Choctaws always get three times what we get. Mr. Tomlinson, I would like to negotiate another division here. Obviously, that is historic. We have had that division between Chickasaws and Choctaws on trust assets for many, many years back from the territory days.

After expenses, the remaining portion of the funds will be invested, along with other tribal funds, and the earnings will be allowed to grow so that future programs can be funded for Chickasaws. Programs like education, housing, senior citizens, health and others, which they really need to secure [for the] future. We are investing in the future of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We have a good working relationship with the local agencies, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Services. This is a historic event that occurred. But, perhaps as important as the actual dollars that we receive, this settlement turns the page.

It represents the United States’ acknowledgement of its mistreatment of the Chickasaw Nation and American Indians of Indian Territory during those early decades of the Twentieth Century. We continue to actively protect and defend our sovereignty, but we will continue to strive to improve our working relationship with the government and its agencies and agents. We have formed partnerships with these agencies, and we will further those partnerships. All in all, it will make life better for Chickasaws.

There is always much to do on the national level to improve and solidify our government-to-government relationship with the United States. Lt. Governor Keel and I have separated a lot of the duties that are required to make sure that this government is ran well. He takes a lot of those national events and represents the Chickasaw Nation; so let’s thank the Lt. Governor for his work on a national level.

In June, the National Labor Relations Board dismissed a complaint against the Chickasaw Nation because of our status as a sovereign nation, and the treaties our ancestors negotiated.

The NLRB ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over Chickasaw Nation workplaces because of the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.  That treaty is a testament to the wisdom and foresight of our tribal leaders who negotiated it. The treaty protects our nation’s right to self-governance.

We are pleased that the board recognized the Chickasaw Nation’s treaties. Those treaties remain the bedrock of our legal relationship with the United States of America.

We continue our legal effort, with the Choctaw Nation, to protect the water resources in the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. We have a vital interest in maintaining the conditions necessary to ensure a thriving natural environment, again for our children and grandchildren.

In order to do this, we must have a plan in place for the sustainable management and equitable distribution of our water resources. Due to a court order, I am not permitted to discuss details or characterize the suit, but be assured that we are and will continue to work towards a positive resolution.

Last year, we reported signing an agreement with the state of Oklahoma to offer Chickasaw Nation car tags. This is a very visible way to show our pride in being Chickasaw. I sure have seen a lot of tags on the road, and it always brings a little smile to my face. I’m going to talk about Chris now. I told my son, Chris, who has a Chickasaw car tag, that now he needed to be a careful driver. And he was not to speed with that tag on there. They know he’s Chickasaw.

We are pleased to report that through August 30, we have issued close to 9,000 tags, and more than $380,000 in rebates have been reimbursed to Chickasaws since the official launch on February 1. Now, Holly Easterling, I’ll give you her cell phone number in a little bit, has projected that we should expect at least 10,000 tags on the road when we get our report from the Oklahoma Tax Commission on September 30.  And that’s good. Ten thousand tags, and you remember that we are working with the state of Oklahoma, and it does not take away from the tax base. That’s good. I think the secretary of state, Ben, was applauding at that one. But, you know, they are only available for Chickasaws in Oklahoma. It would be very difficult to go across the country and do these agreements. But Chickasaws are proud of being Chickasaw. Alright—We are! And you have every right to be. So, after some inquiries from several citizens, there were no recommendations, just a few complaints. Well, what are you doing? Why don’t we have one? We came up with a bumper sticker, and we came up with a front plate that looks almost identical to the license plate. And I appreciate Robyn Elliott and her staff for doing that, and they are available for everyone. So you can be a proud Chickasaw and display that wherever you are. And I noticed in one of the videos, there was a Chickasaw bumper sticker beside somebody’s office door there, which that’s pretty cool.

For many years, the Chickasaw Nation has worked to recover as much of our land base as we possibly could. And it’s not just buying the land. We have uses for the land.  It’s important to our ability to operate businesses and offer programs and services. In 1987, the tribe had just over 1,900 acres. Our total land holdings today are nearly 13,000 acres. These lands are vital to our economic development efforts.

They allow us to exercise jurisdiction over the property to expand our business operations, increase revenue and offer a greater quantity and quality of services to Chickasaw citizens. So, our plans are continuing to improve our land base. This past year, we began construction on several new facilities around the Chickasaw Nation.

In many cases, our existing facilities have aged and need to be replaced and upgraded, and in some situations, we have simply outgrown the space and need to expand to accommodate our growing population and service offerings.

Right here in Tishomingo, we broke ground to construct several new facilities. A new early childhood education center, which will better accommodate more children with upgraded technology and a fresh learning environment; also, a new community center to replace the existing center, and a new senior center to better serve Tishomingo seniors. They’re all conveniently located on the same campus as the health clinic and wellness center. So, it will be easy access to all of those services.

To welcome tourists to this part of Chickasaw Country, we are constructing a Chickasaw Information Center on Main Street near the entrance of Pennington Park.  Visitors, and I’m sure some of those visitors will be Chickasaw, can learn about the Chickasaw Nation and all there is to do in Chickasaw Country.

We have several projects underway in Purcell, as well. We are relocating and rebuilding the [Purcell] Area Office so we can better serve Chickasaws. This will accommodate increased patient growth and will offer a variety of new and much needed services.

The Purcell Health Clinic is expanding. They’ll have new exam rooms and will have dental and imaging services, as well as physical therapy and expanded pharmacy services there. In direct response to requests from Purcell-area Chickasaws, we are also building a wellness center with a swimming pool on the same campus.

Hundreds of Oklahoma City metro area Chickasaws joined us for a picnic in May. We gathered on the newly acquired 50 acres in northwest Oklahoma City. This new property will be the location for our Oklahoma City community and senior centers. We have developed a site plan and are working on construction plans for the two new facilities.

Program and service offerings have expanded and businesses have grown, increasing the number of jobs available. The Chickasaw Nation currently employs nearly 14,000 people. We want to give as many Chickasaws as possible an opportunity to achieve gainful, quality employment. A meaningful job is one key factor to an improved quality of life, and we continue to prepare our people for jobs with our college internship program and school-to-work programs. To date, 250 Chickasaws have been interns and 576 have participated in school-to-work. We are currently developing an apprenticeship program to provide even more opportunities for Chickasaws to train and prepare for work inside the nation, and if they choose, for other companies. We work to offer opportunities for Chickasaws so that they can succeed.

Our commerce department has again reported significant financial gains. Our growth rate year over year is eight percent. This is about twice the national average. Three to four percent annual growth is average for most businesses. An important part of our business strategy is reinvesting in existing facilities. Construction began on a new convention center at WinStar to bring large conferences to Thackerville.

Sovereign Medical Solutions continues to be a source of growth and income for the Chickasaw Nation. The Sovereign Clinics in Ada and Norman have added in-house lab and x-ray services. We will expand the care we offer in Ada in 2016 by extending the hours of operation and by offering urgent care services. Recently, Sovereign purchased an existing urgent care company, which included six clinics in the Oklahoma City area. This is another exciting milestone in our efforts to build a thriving commercial health care operation.

We talked over the years about tourism, and tourism is a magnet that draws people from around the world to the Chickasaw Nation. This does much more than provide a significant boost to the local economy. There is a marked similarity between our current tourism initiative and our historic commerce in and around our homelands.

Beginning in 1790, yes I said 1790, the Natchez Trace was the most important and heavily used route through the Chickasaw Nation. Of course, this was in our homeland. Chickasaws operated ferries, inns and other businesses along the length of the Natchez Trace. Principal Chief George Colbert negotiated with the U.S. for exclusive rights of Chickasaws to do business within the Chickasaw portion of the Natchez Trace. Colbert’s Ferry at the Tennessee River crossing was the most famous of these businesses, but Chickasaws operated numerous other establishments about every 20 miles, which was about a day’s travel, along the route. Historic accounts speak of the hospitality Chickasaws provided to weary travelers along the middle portion of the 444-mile route between Natchez and Nashville. So what we do is historic.

Today, we are applying that same business strategy and hospitality along the I-35 corridor. At the beginning of 2015, we launched a new campaign called Adventure Road. We couldn’t call it the Natchez Trace. Adventure Road is a partnership with more than 180 local businesses to revitalize tourism along the 130 miles of Oklahoma highway that stretches from the Red River to downtown Oklahoma City. Attracting travelers to businesses along this route will bring jobs and tourism dollars to these businesses and communities. We have great hope for Adventure Road.

Chickasaw culture and heritage is part of the attraction that brings people to this area. It is also what binds us together as a people. So, it is important that we continue to share knowledge of our culture with Chickasaws and others who are interested.

The number of visitors to our cultural center continues to grow each year. This year, we welcomed more than 100,000 guests from across Oklahoma, the country and the globe to the Chickasaw Cultural Center. We continue to improve and add to the cultural center.

This week, we re-ignited the eternal flame during cultural evening. The eternal flame serves as an acknowledgement and recognition of all Chickasaws who have kept the fire of our culture burning and as a way to encourage future generations to continue to honor the culture that binds us all together.

In July, we broke ground on a footbridge that will span Rock Creek and connect the Chickasaw National Recreation Area with the Chickasaw Cultural Center. The bridge provides visitors easy access between the two attractions. Construction should soon begin.

Also in the spring, you will receive the first edition of “CHOKMA,” a high-quality, photo-heavy magazine produced by the Chickasaw Press. It will focus on connecting citizens, as well as outside readers, to the stories of the Chickasaw Nation.

“CHOKMA,” of course, is a greeting in Chickasaw. We have made much progress in the intensive efforts focused towards preserving and revitalizing this Chickasaw language.  Initiatives, such as narratives collected from Chickasaw speakers, classes in conversation and even a new dictionary, are challenging citizens and employees to learn our language.

Recently, an important step was taken toward ensuring that our language is preserved.  We have signed a contract with Rosetta Stone, a leading organization in language instruction. Thanks to Lisa John and all of her staff for negotiating and working with Rosetta Stone. Chickasaw will soon be one of only a handful of native languages offered by Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone will collaborate with our language committee to develop Chickasaw Level One, a set that’s comprised of 40 interactive lessons. We will make arrangements for Chickasaws to have access to these lessons. Now keep in mind this is going to take some time. This is going to take a little while to develop, so give us that time. But we will announce to you when it is available.

Serving Chickasaw people with meaningful opportunities to improve their overall quality of life is at the heart of all we do. This guides our decision-making and priorities. Chickasaws have always answered the call to serve our nation and our country. Chickasaw men and women have bravely defended our freedom serving in every branch of the armed services. To those service men and women, we say thank you. I thank you. Please stand and be recognized and allow us to honor you if you are a veteran. You heard on the video earlier our team is working diligently to provide services that are beneficial and helpful to you as veterans.  We are increasing the number of service representatives to help veterans navigate programs that the VA offers and services that the Chickasaw Nation offers.

Last year, we announced we would be constructing the Chickasaw Veterans Lodge. This is a place for veterans to gather. We are pleased to report a site plan has been developed, and construction drawings are underway.

The reputation of Chickasaw warriors is legendary. Ancient Chickasaws were known as a warrior nation, and the warriors themselves formed societies of men and women who participated in battle. These societies, that recognized both the physical and spiritual aspects of war, were ingrained into the Chickasaw way of life. Those warrior traditions have continued into the 21st century, and we want to help those traditions continue for generations to come. We are proud of our warriors…

Chickasaw citizens have fought for their country in each of the modern wars! In recognition of our warriors, the Chickasaw Warrior Society has been created. Many of you veterans voted on the logo and overwhelmingly selected the logo I hope is featured on the screen right now. I knew it was going to be up there. I have great trust in our people. Of course, we are working to create the needed structure and materials to support those who would like to join the Warrior Society. Veterans, I know you’ve been very patient, but soon you will receive information in the mail in the coming weeks on how to join the society. We welcome you.

Chickasaw youth are a high priority for us. We have so many amazing opportunities available to our young people today to explore their options, expand their horizons and excel in their chosen field. This past year, more than 2,600 youth attended camps and academies. Chickasaw youth are excelling in the arts, sciences, athletics and academics. It is important to provide a safe and stimulating environment in which young people can learn. Recently, we broke ground for a new Chickasaw Nation Youth Club in Sulphur.  This club will provide the extra room needed to meet the demand for after school programs in the area.

Education has been, and will continue to be, a top priority for us. A good education opens doors to a better life.

In August, we became a charter tribe in establishing the Oklahoma State University Center for Sovereign Nations. We thank Provost Gary Sandefur for working with us to create the Sovereign Nations University Center.  It’s at Oklahoma State University. This will help to provide and promote understanding, respect and exercise of tribal sovereignty and student success and graduation. To continue introducing students to the fields of science, technology and math, we introduced the STEMsearch program to show how lessons taught in the classroom are applied to real world career options. Our early childhood education centers served more than 330 students for the 2014-2015 school year. With the two programs combined, Education Services has funded more than 4,800 students in the amount of $18.4 million.

Making sure Chickasaws have a comfortable home environment has been one of our priorities for years. We have several programs that help us get a little closer to this goal all the time. This year, the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program surpassed last year’s numbers. The program helped 57 Chickasaw families with almost $8 million in mortgages so they could invest in new homes of their own. We are happy about that. This year, we also helped 398 Chickasaws with down payments and closing costs on new homes. And we installed 728 storm shelters, bringing the total number of shelters installed at Chickasaw homes to 3,992. That’s nearly 4,000 Chickasaw families who are protected in the event of severe weather. And in Oklahoma, you need to be ready. I guess in Kansas and other states, too. This is a national program, by the way.

Now, you’ve heard about our elders, and we’ve always raised them up and will continue to do so. You have traveled the roads before us.  We work hard to serve our elders in ways that benefit their lives. We have senior centers in 12 communities across the Chickasaw Nation. These centers served more than 227,000 breakfasts, lunches and homebound meals last year. They also provided a place for health screenings, wellness classes and lots of social interaction. From meal programs, to home maintenance and car care assistance, help with medications and assisted living supplement programs, we are constantly asking ourselves, how can we improve the lives of our elders? Know that we will continue to invest in the health and well-being of our older generation.

Health care for all of our citizens has been one of the biggest investments made by the Chickasaw Nation. It is an investment that shows a tremendous return in several ways. We’ve had more than 800,000 patient visits to the health system in the last year. More than 3,000 MRIs, 40,000 dental visits, 836 babies born at the medical center.  Nearly, 1.2 million prescriptions filled and of that, almost 500 thousand were mailed through the mail order pharmacy program. And we appreciate the working relationship and the partnership we have with Indian Health Service. It’s been a long one and a good one, and we appreciate the support and the partnership.

We are increasing our focus on prevention. It is vital, very vital, that we keep ourselves, and our families, in good health physically, as well as mentally and spiritually. We continue to put value on programs that provide support in these areas. Our wellness centers had more than 170,000 visits this past year.

We continue our efforts towards education on good nutrition. In partnership with the USDA, we became the first tribal medical center in the U.S., to begin offering Healthy Meals for Kids, providing any child 18 and younger a good meal when they come to the facility.

Equally important to the physical health of our nation, is the mental health and wellbeing of Chickasaw families. We are providing an expanded and comprehensive array of innovative mental health services to our citizens. We are continuing to work hard on this front to provide support and combat domestic violence, alcoholism and drug abuse. We are proactively working to unite and restore families. Next year, we will break ground on a new women’s treatment center. We will continue to look for ways to support Chickasaw families.

Many of the programs and services available today are a direct result of the information we have received from you and other Chickasaws throughout the years. Communication is vital to all of us, and it is vital to our ability to serve you and serve you well. There are Chickasaws living in every state in the union, and also in nine different countries. Making sure information is delivered to you in a meaningful and convenient method is a priority.

Today, we utilize multiple communications tools to provide information that works for you. Very soon, you should be receiving the current Programs and Services Directory, which outlines all of the many programs and services available through the Chickasaw Nation.

Of course, it would be very difficult and time consuming—we wouldn’t have time for a lunch break—if we tried to cover everything. Which is why we issue this Programs and Services Directory, so you will know. It’s important that we provide a full report to you of the accomplishments that we’ve had during the year. And after the first of the year, you will be receiving the Progress Report, and it will outline all the things that have occurred during the previous year and the progress that we’ve made.

Six years ago, we launched Chickasaw Community Radio, online and on 89.5 in Ada. We are pleased to announce that by year’s end, listeners will be able to enjoy Chickasaw Community Radio in the Ardmore area on 89.3 FM and in the Duncan area on 96.1 FM.

Face-to-face communication is really important to us as well, and we’ve traveled to many places in Oklahoma and the United States to visit with you. We will be continuing this outreach effort in the coming months. We hope to see and visit as many Chickasaws as possible.

We have a time of tremendous growth and even greater potential ahead of us. As I said, the best is yet to come. Chikasha Poya. We are Chickasaw. We are blessed.

The state of the Chickasaw Nation is one of prosperity, of building roads to the future while never forgetting how far we’ve travelled together.

Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as your governor. It is our goal every day to honor you with the level of hard work, dedication and commitment you deserve. Know that your team will continue to do our best for you in the years to come. We will strive every day to fulfill our mission of enhancing the lives of all Chickasaw people.

Ladies and Gentleman, the state of the Chickasaw Nation is strong and getting stronger!

Thank you - Chokma'shki - Yakoke