Honored to speak to U.S. Congress on self-governance
From the desk of Chief Gregory E. Pyle
You would think as many times as I have been to Washington, D.C., I wouldn’t get butterflies when talking to members of Congress, but even after all these years, when asked to speak on behalf of the tribes of the United States, especially our tribe, the importance of that task is awesome. In September I had the honor of being requested to testify to Congress on self-governance at a hearing on HR 2444, the Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act of 2011. Congressman Dan Boren, a member of the subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Natural Resources Committee and the U.S. Representative for the 2nd District of Oklahoma, was the sponsor of this bill.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma successfully operates under self-governance and we are blessed to have tremendous opportunities for our tribal people in recent years. Because of self-governance, the Choctaw Nation has seen achievements in economic development, which have paved the way for additional employment. We have seen advancements in tribal health service both through additional facilities and superior care. Through self-governance, the Choctaw Nation has made accomplishments in education that have helped us progress in many ways, such as building an academic facility at Jones Academy and initiating programs that help students of all ages. We are able to “think outside the box” – and do something with those ideas!
Self-governance works! And I was humbled to speak to members of Congress about how it works for our tribe. I truly appreciate the trust the Choctaw people put in me as the Chief of the tribe and want to always represent you well. Our tribe is 208,000+ people strong and growing every day. We are a blessed nation of people!