Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Important role models in my life

From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton

November 2012

My life has been blessed in recent years by knowing people I have looked to for guidance in many areas. One of the most treasured role models I want to mention is Tribal Chaplain Bertram Bobb.

For years, I have admired his commitment to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Brother Bobb always shows kindness, and a sincere interest in others. Seeing how Brother Bobb lives his life boldly sharing the gospel and always edifying others has shown me qualities I want to always have in my life. The Fruits of the Spirit are exemplified by Brother Bobb – love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22, 23).

Various mentors I admire in the business world have exhibited good stewardship, integrity, servant leadership, and thorough research, all vital components of a sound investment policy. Our tribal leadership has these traits and our economic development ventures have been successful.

Choctaw traditions are being shared with me through the Choctaw language teachers, the Historic Preservation and Cultural staff, tribal elders, the Council Members and many others. I have learned about our culture through art, dance and stickball. It is amazing how much of our history has been passed down through the years and can continue to be shared with our children and grandchildren!

A great mentor for me on a daily basis is Chief Pyle. He knows it is important to truly listen to the ideas and needs of tribal members, employees and the community. Chief Pyle’s work toward the fruition of his vision for the future of the Choctaw Nation has included everything from starting a school of Choctaw language, building a new hospital and tremendous health system, innovative educational opportunities for tribal members and providing a path for the cultural revival of our tribe to continue for many generations.

The Choctaw Nation offers prayer before meetings and we say grace before meals. I think this outward expression of faith and submission to God pleases Him. I know in my personal life, prayer changes things!

I have mentioned a few of the people who are important role models in my life, but I want to say “Yakoke” to all the many people who help me each and every day!