Chickasaw license plates a point of pride

Five years ago, Governor Bill Anoatubby and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a license plate compact. Thanks to this collaboration between the Chickasaw Nation and the state of Oklahoma in 2014, the Chickasaw Motor Vehicle Tag Program was created.

“We are very pleased to work with the state to offer Chickasaw Nation license plates,” Gov. Anoatubby said at the time.

Beginning the second day of February 2015, Chickasaw citizens living in Oklahoma had a new way to express their Chickasaw pride.

Chickasaw license plates became available at tag agencies throughout the state. The plates served then and now as a blue beacon - a 6” x 12” signal of a driver’s heritage.

Nearly 16,000 Chickasaw citizens have purchased their tags.

Upon release, Gov. Anoatubby said the license plates offered Chickasaws a visible way to demonstrate their pride.

“Many Chickasaws are very pleased they will have license plates which recognize their tribal citizenship,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “These tags offer Chickasaw citizens a very visible way to demonstrate their pride in being Chickasaw, while keeping funding for school, roads, state employee retirement, wildlife conservation and other state programs intact.”

The first Chickasaw Nation plate for a motorcycle was purchased in Pontotoc County by Garry and Elizabeth Harrison. Chickasaw Hall of Famer Pauline Brown was among the Chickasaw citizens anticipating the release of the license plates.

“I don’t know if I was the first Chickasaw in Pontotoc County to get the tag, but I was one of the first,” Mrs. Brown said in 2015 with a broad smile. “I’m really proud. It shows how far we have advanced (as a tribe). Now, wherever we travel it tells others what tribe we are. We are very proud of our tribe. I put it on my car and stood there and admired it for a long time. I couldn’t believe it.”

Tags are issued through the Oklahoma Tax Commission. All non-commercial vehicles registered to Chickasaw citizens are eligible. The Chickasaw Nation offers a 20% rebate to the purchaser. Almost five years in, the Chickasaw motor vehicle tag program has paid out more than $6 million in rebates.

Vehicles with the tag installed stand out on the road.

Depicted on the tag is the Chickasaw warrior – as sculpted by renowned artist and former Seminole Nation Principal Chief Enoch Kelly Haney – who keeps watch atop a textured blue background.

For citizens outside of Oklahoma, vanity license plates striking a resemblance to the Oklahoma tag can be purchased online at ChickasawOutpost.com or by calling (580) 332-1458.