The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is an American Indian Tribe organized pursuant to the provisions of the Act of June 26, 1936-49. Stat. 1967. and is federally recognized by the United States government through the Secretary of the Interior.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma consists of ten and one-half counties in the southeastern part of Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation is bounded on the east by the State of Arkansas, on the south by the Red River, on the north by the South Canadian, Canadian and Arkansas Rivers. The western boundary generally follows a line slightly west of Durant, then due north to the South Canadian River.
The Tribe is governed by the Choctaw Nation Constitution which was ratified by the people on June 9, 1984. The Constitution provides for an Executive, a Legislative and a Judicial branch of government. The Chief of the Choctaw Tribe, elected every four years, is not a voting member of the Tribal Council. The legislative authority of the Tribe is vested in the Tribal Council, which consists of 12 members. Members of the Tribal Council are elected by the Choctaw people. Twelve Council members are elected representing each of the twelve districts in the Choctaw Nation.
In order to be elected as a Council member, it is required that the candidate must have resided in their respective districts for at least one year immediately preceding the election. They must remain a resident of the district from which they were elected during the tenure of their office. This policy ensures the involvement and interaction of successful candidates with their constituency.
Once in office, the Tribal Council Members continue to receive input from the Choctaw citizens through regularly scheduled county council meetings. The presence of these tribal leaders in the Indian community creates a sense of understanding of their community and it’s needs. And since the Indian people traditionally look to the tribal representation for guidance and leadership, it is obvious that each council member has a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of his or her district and it’s needs.
The Tribal Council is responsible for adopting rules and regulations which govern the Choctaw Nation, for approving all budgets, making decisions concerning the management of tribal property, and all other legislative matters. The Tribal Council Members are the voice and representation of the Choctaw people in the tribal government.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma believes that responsibility for achieving self-sufficiency rests with the governing body of the Tribe. It is the Tribal Council’s responsibility to assist the community in its ability to implement an economic development strategy and to plan, organize, and direct Tribal resources in a comprehensive manner which results in self-sufficiency. The Tribal Council recognizes the need to strengthen the Nation’s economy, with primary efforts being focused on the creation of additional job opportunities through promotion and development. By planning and implementing its own programs and building a strong economic base, the Choctaw Nation applies its own fiscal, natural, and human resources to develop self-sufficiency. These efforts can only succeed through strong governance, sound economic development, and positive social development.