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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: October 11, 2006
by Tony Choate

During an address interrupted more than 40 times by applause, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby focused on recent progress in education, health, housing and employment.

“Our progress in every area continues to excel, sometimes beyond our expectations,” said Gov. Anoatubby, who added there was simply not enough time to cover all the tribe’s accomplishments.

Noting the recent celebration of the 150th anniversary of its 1856 constitution, Gov. Anoatubby noted that much of the tribe’s progress has come in the last 20 years.

“As we celebrate our remarkable achievement, let us also celebrate those who came before us and made it possible for me to report to you that the state of the Chickasaw Nation has never been better,” he said.

In 20 years the tribe has grown from about 250 employees to 10,570, according to Gov. Anoatubby, who said business growth and diversification has been important to that success.

“No discussion of our achievements is possible without talking about the tribe’s businesses,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Our business success continues to grow and our strategy of diversification is being implemented.”

Chickasaw Enterprises employs 6,488 workers and operates 57 businesses, including the state’s two largest casinos.

The 219,000 square foot Riverwind casino, the largest in the state, opened in July.

Businesses recently opened or under development by Chickasaw Enterprises include the Red River Sand and Gravel Company, the WinStar Golf Course, and the Artesian Hotel.

Gov. Anoatubby credited well trained employees as an essential element in the tribe’s success in all areas from businesses to health care.

“In April of this year, we were named ‘Franchisee of the Year’ at Microtel’s award ceremony,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We also had two employees nominated for the ‘Guest Hero Services’ award.

“This is a singular honor, as the Microtel Corporation only considers three candidates world-wide for this honor.”

Chickasaw Nation Industries illustrates the success of tribal diversification efforts. CNI has developed 12 companies, which provide a variety of services to a long list of clients.

While a majority of CNI profits are reinvested, the company returned $1.1 million in dividends to the tribe to fund programs and services.

“The revenues and resulting payments made by our businesses to the tribal treasury have enabled us to increase and expand services,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We have been able to put more Chickasaws to work, to provide educational opportunities, to improve housing and multiple services, to continue providing the very best health care possible.”

Plans announced last year to build a new $135 million hospital south of Ada are continuing.

“We plan to have a groundbreaking ceremony for this new, state-of-the-art health care facility in the spring of 2007,” said Gov. Anoatubby.

In 1994, the Chickasaw Nation became the first in the United States to negotiate a compact to manage its own health care system the Chickasaw Nation Health System consisted of the Carl Albert Indian Health facility in Ada and clinics in Tishomingo and Ardmore.

This past year alone, the CNHS handled more than 336,000 patient visits, administered more than, 600,000 clinical tests and filled more than 800,000 prescriptions.

Several advances in education were also highlighted.

More than 2,100 scholarships totaling more than $3 million were awarded to students attending colleges and universities. Approximately $2.8 million of that total came from tribal funds.

New programs have also been created to provide funding for books, clothing and to recognize outstanding student achievement.

Adult Learning programs were also mentioned, including GED training and computer training for elders at 11 senior sites throughout the Chickasaw Nation

There has also been an expansion of housing programs.

Chuka Chukmasi Home loan program provided 85 mortgage home loans and provided some families help with down payment and closing cost assistance.

A grant program to provide up to $3,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance a low income home improvement grant and the storm shelter program have all been expanded to serve Chickasaws regardless of where they live.

Accomplishments in helping preserve Chickasaw culture include the first book published by the Chickasaw Press.

A book signing and launch for “Chickasaw: Unconquered and Unconquerable” was conducted later that day.

“It seems very fitting for this to be the first book published by the Chickasaw Press,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “This volume provides a glimpse of the Chickasaw story which will serve as a source of pride and inspiration to Chickasaws and a source of insight to non-Chickasaws.”

Somewhat similar to university press operations, the Chickasaw Press publishing company will enable the tribe to print literature of importance to the Chickasaw people.

Proposals to be considered for future publication include scholarly works, children’s stories, biographies, history, poetry and others.

Other cultural achievements include the world premiere of a play about Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata, the completion of a series of portraits of Chickasaw elders by Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen and expansion of language programs.

“Twenty years ago we envisioned what we needed,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We needed more and better services for the Chickasaw people. We knew we would need to develop our own tribal economy so we would have the revenues to meet the growing, changing needs of our people.

“We took advantage of every available opportunity. It is amazing what has been accomplished in the last 20 years.”