Gov. Anoatubby: Much has been accomplished, ‘but we have only just begun’

TISHOMINGO, Okla. – Governor Bill Anoatubby delivered his October 1 State of the Nation address in a newly constructed theater adjacent to the historic Chickasaw National Capitol and Council House, where Chickasaws drafted their 1856 Constitution.

This unique setting for the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Chickasaw Nation offered historical context for the Governor’s message linking decades of tremendous growth and progress with enduring Chickasaw values of self-determination, hard work, and cooperation with friends and neighbors.

“We have built a very strong foundation throughout these last 35 years, but we have only just begun,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “We still have a long way to go. My fellow Chickasaws, friends, neighbors and acquaintances, we are standing on a strong foundation. We look forward with confidence into a future of great possibilities for the growth of our tribe and for the progress of our people.”

Business
In fiscal year 2022, Chickasaw Nation net assets increased by approximately 27% over the same period last year and net position increased by approximately 38% as of Aug. 31, 2022.

“You can see our financial outlook is outstanding,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

The Chickasaw Nation’s diverse portfolio contains more than 100 business holdings, including manufacturing, energy, health care, media, technology, hospitality, retail, and tourism. Continued success has enabled the tribe to invest in new ventures.

The Chickasaw Nation’s annual economic impact in the state of Oklahoma is $5.5 billion, supporting more than 34,400 jobs and $1.8 billion in wages and benefits.

Governor Anoatubby detailed a wide range of new developments, including a planned hospital in the Oklahoma City area.

“The new hospital will offer numerous outpatient and specialty services and should directly employ as many as 3,500 people” he said.

He also outlined substantial tourism projects, which will benefit the entire state.

Current tourism projects in development span from the southern tip of state to the Oklahoma City metro, including: A new event center, hotel and expansion at WinStar World Casino, Thackerville; a resort at Lake Texoma, Kingston; a hotel at Lake Murray, Ardmore; and the OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark, situated near the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.

“Once complete, we expect each of these development projects to generate a great deal of jobs in their communities and revenue, which we will use to fund and expand our vital programs and services,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

The Governor described how business diversification and economic development have enabled the Chickasaw Nation to reach new levels of success, meet its mission and lift up Chickasaw people, whose numbers continue to grow with more than 76,000 citizens across the globe.

“We are always seeking new ways to adapt and expand our more than 200 programs and services that are intended to meet our mission. That is to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people,” he said. “To achieve this, we have long developed a diverse and robust portfolio of businesses that continue to supply us with the necessary funds to maintain the growth that we’ve been able to achieve.”

Health Care
Delivering exceptional health care services has long been a top priority for the Chickasaw Nation, which operates a hospital, four clinics, eight pharmacies, a diabetes care center, emergency medical services, five nutrition centers, eight WIC offices and five wellness centers.

Gov. Anoatubby detailed planned expansions to the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center Ada campus as well as plans to build a large hospital to provide health care to First American residents in the Oklahoma City metro area.

He also detailed several planned enhancements and expansions that will enable swift delivery of preventative medicine and nutrition and integrated services to First Americans.

One initiative, Chickasha Anokfilli’ (Thinking Chickasaw) emphasizes the importance of mental wellness. Another program, Medical Family Therapy, a unique approach to health based in traditional Chickasaw values of caring for the whole person, completed nearly 16,000 in person visits and provided more than 3,400 virtual visits this year.

In 2022, the Impa’Chi (Let’s Eat) program served more than 88,000 meals directly to children at sites throughout the Chickasaw Nation and shipped nearly 680,000 meals to Chickasaw youth. Likewise, the Packed Promise program served more than 1,600 school-aged Chickasaw children each month and more than 4,000 Chickasaw seniors took part in the Winter Fruit and Vegetable program.

The Chickasaw Nation Department of Health expects to serve 1.2 million patient interactions at hospitals and clinics this year. The tribal pharmacy filled 1.4 million prescriptions and mailed almost 600,000 more across the country. Nearly 1,000 First American babies were born at the medical center, and 30,000 pediatric visits took place this year.

Education and Youth
Noting that 6,000 Chickasaw students received $28.8 million in higher education grants and scholarships last year, Gov. Anoatubby outlined program enhancements for younger students, including building a new Chickasaw Youth Club in Ardmore and the return of summer camps, clinics and academies, which hosted 1,600 students this year.

“We have educational resources to assist students of all ages and in all phases of life,” he said. “It is important that we offer these invaluable opportunities for our youth to learn, grow and develop in a safe and positive environment.”

Honoring Elders and Veterans
“Chickasaws have a long tradition of military service, which is carried on today by our brave men and women who serve in the armed forces,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

Therefore, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Veterans Services offers support and programs in appreciation of the service of Chickasaw veterans.

Officially known as the Chickasaw Warrior Society, Chickasaw veterans can access services and benefits, as well as fellowship with one another, in the veteran’s lodge on Ada South Campus.

A virtual Chickasaw Veterans Wall pays tribute to all Chickasaws who served in any branch of the armed services.

Cultural Preservation
“We continue to embrace new technology and mediums to preserve and share our history and our culture,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

These include Chickasaw Language Basics app, Chickasaw Nation Culture and Humanities YouTube Channel, AChickasawDictionary.com, language clubs for all ages and more.

Recently launched applications feature Chikasha Emojis and Choctaw Hymns. ANOMPA: A Chickasaw Word Game app is currently in development.

Career and Small Business Development
Assisting Chickasaws with meeting career goals is an integral part of meeting the mission and a variety of programs are available through Chickasaw Employment Access, a division dedicated to equipping citizens for the workforce.

One program, the Chickasaw Institute offers training in a half-dozen technical trade programs, such as electrical, plumbing and medical coding. The facility expanded this year and now serves 53 students. More than 33 Chickasaws have graduated from the program.

Criminal Justice
Chickasaw Nation criminal justice jurisdiction greatly expanded from about 280 square miles to the full 7,648 square miles of Chickasaw Nation treaty territory, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2020 and a subsequent Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in 2021.

“As our criminal justice duties expand, we continue to develop mutually beneficial agreements and partnerships with our local, county and state law enforcement and emergency management agencies,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

The Chickasaw Nation has more than 70 cooperative jurisdiction agreements with county, federal and municipal law enforcement agencies and 11 county detention agreements. Tribal Emergency Management has inked more than two dozen new agreements with partner agencies in 2022.

“We are committed to providing public safety in our communities as well as a variety of quality programs and services,” he said.

In conclusion, Gov. Anoatubby reported that “the State of the Chickasaw Nation is strong, and it is getting stronger.”

“With sovereignty as our foundation, and careful planning and forethought as our guide, we are confident in our ability to adapt to any task and overcome most any challenge,” he said.