Coming together after the storms

This article appeared in the May 2024 edition of the Chickasaw Times

Our hearts go out to all the individuals and families affected by the recent storms across the country. A large number of tornados impacted communities in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. Chickasaw Nation representatives are contacting all citizens in the pathways of these storms to ensure their safety and, if applicable, recovery needs.

The Chickasaw Nation was greatly affected, as storms brought strong winds, hail, heavy rain, tornados and caused much destruction and damage to several communities and towns within our treaty territory. We are actively collaborating with local authorities and emergency management agencies in relief efforts and will be there to assist Chickasaw citizens and our employees, neighbors and friends.

The Chickasaw Nation has pooled its many resources to aid the cities of Sulphur and Marietta, Oklahoma, in the aftermath of the storm system that afflicted these communities. Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police, along with other first responders from the tribe, have been on site assisting with search and rescue efforts, assessing damage and providing traffic control in unsafe areas.

Chickasaw Nation Emergency Management and Lighthorse Police Department worked through the night following the storms and are still rendering support to all local teams and authorities, as needed. There is a significant amount of damage and assessment that will be ongoing, but we will continue partnering and helping however we can.

Our emergency management and disaster relief teams immediately made tribal resources available to impacted city, county, state and national emergency management officials. Along with the tribe’s Emergency Management Mobile Command Center, the fully staffed and self-contained Inchokma mobile medical unit was deployed to Sulphur and made open to the public to assist with non-emergency injuries sustained by workers and volunteers during clean-up.

Chickasaw Nation Emergency Management continues to orchestrate donations of food, water and other supplies to be used by those directly impacted by the storms. These supplies have been provided to victims, first responders, volunteers and the many utility and clean-up crews assisting in restoring vital services, including power, water and sanitation. Chickasaw Nation employees have also continued to volunteer in all aspects of relief efforts.

The Chickasaw Nation is providing lodging and staging area space for utility workers during restoration and has made shuttles available to volunteers to cut down on traffic congestion.

To assist those impacted, we are providing relief resources and services through our area offices and disaster relief and recovery team. As we continue working with authorities to assess the situation and provide needed support, we encourage affected Chickasaws to contact their local area office or Chickasaw Nation Disaster Relief and Recovery at (855) 389-1740.

Managed by the Chickasaw Foundation, the Chickasaw Nation Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund contributes to relief and recovery efforts associated with emergencies, natural disaster and crises, including tornados, fire and floods.

While we continue to diligently evaluate the extent of the damage caused by the storms and impact within our communities, our prayers are with all those who have been affected. We also extend our sincerest appreciation to the many emergency responders, relief and utility workers, health care professionals, volunteers and more who are aiding in disaster recovery. We will continue to assist and support Chickasaws and our communities in these efforts.