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Press Release

Release Date: July 14, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Developed to train Chickasaw college students to become leaders in their communities, the Chickasaw Nation Internship Program gives students access to real work environments while in college. The experience provides eight to 10 weeks of on-the-job training to students to help them successfully gain employment upon graduation. Application deadline is Aug. 1.

The internship program works in partnership with government and business leaders across the country to provide an exclusive educational opportunity to the students of the Chickasaw Nation. The internship program has established relationships and partnerships with organizations nationwide.

“The Chickasaw Nation Internship Program differs from others by providing paid internships for our Chickasaw students, and providing placements within the Chickasaw Nation and partnering external organizations within Indian Country that are relative to the student's field of study,” Catie Hamilton, Chickasaw Nation Director of Cultural Enhancement, said.

The program provides motivated college students between the ages of 18-25 with a firsthand view of what it takes to be highly-effective ambassadors and real-world problem solvers. Upon graduation, many typical college students realize that employers place a great deal of emphasis on work experience.

Many graduating students have little to no work history, specifically in their degree area. The Chickasaw Nation’s internship program gives each participating student the opportunity to gain knowledge in their field while in college, allowing them to have work experience when searching for a job after graduation.

“Students are placed in internships relative to their field of study. They are able to conduct meaningful projects that give them real-life work experience,” Hamilton said.

The internships are designed to help train students to address challenges that arise while working. The experience allows participants to work firsthand with tribal, private business and governmental leadership. The tribe selects and funds participants in the hope they will gain the understanding needed to become effective leaders in their desired fields.

The internship program is conducted at different times throughout the year. The Chickasaw Nation determines internship locations. Cultural enhancement staff works with the student and employer to determine internship timelines and specifics.

Once selected, students are prepared for their internship by participating in an orientation. Students discuss internship program guidelines, tour Chickasaw Nation facilities and learn Chickasaw history and language.

“We provide our students a cultural aspect of our history and culture through virtual and in-person presentations, language classes and cultural make and takes,” Hamilton said.

Students who participate in the Chickasaw Nation Internship Program are also given the opportunity to participate in numerous career development trainings and hear from Chickasaw Nation professionals.

After completing orientation, students travel to their designated internship sites to begin employment. The Chickasaw Nation provides each student with biweekly pay, one round-trip airline ticket to the intern site and housing accommodations.

The Chickasaw Nation receives many requests from students to come to Oklahoma to work with the tribe. Many students do not live within the Chickasaw Nation jurisdictional boundaries and previously have not been able to visit tribal headquarters.

In 2009, the Chickasaw Nation built six internship-housing units to better accommodate the students. Each housing unit consists of two bedrooms and bathrooms with a shared kitchen, living and laundry room. Housing units provide recreational activities, as well as a storm shelter.

To qualify for the internship program, applicants must be a Chickasaw citizen, complete an application and submit all documentation to the Chickasaw Nation Internship program coordinator.

Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and be a full-time Chickasaw college student enrolled as a sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student at the time of application. Unpaid internship opportunities may be available for students who do not meet these qualifications.

For a list of required documents and access to the online application, visit Chickasaw.net/Internship or call (580) 272-1286 for more information.