District 11, September 2021

By Tribal Councilmember Robert Karr
September 1, 2021

Halito chim achukma! I hope you had a terrific summer. There is no place I had rather live than on the Choctaw Nation reservation. We have had some great achievements for our tribe lately with the opening of our Cultural Center and the Casino/Resort. Also, we had some setbacks with the reemergence of COVID-19, but the Chahta spirit is resilient and will stay strong.

I am proud of our tribe and truly believe that we have a bright future. If you have not visited the Cultural Center, please make plans to, you will not be disappointed. Our businesses have done very well and with the addition of the beautiful new resort and casino, I think it will help us continue to serve our tribal members for generations.

The District 11 princess pageant was held June 24. All the contestants did an awesome job. Congratulations to our new princesses Little Miss Sophia McFarland, Junior Miss Jenessa Dugger and Senior Miss Madison Ward. Yakoke to our 2019-2021 princesses Jordyn Washington, Alexis Futischa and Cheyhomma Duger for representing District 11 so very well.

I would also like to announce the Chahta Foundation District 11 Scholarship recipients for 2021, Katie Barnes (Savanna), Erin Dunlap (McAlester), Bruce Holloway (Haileyville), Rowdy Nimrod (Hartshorne), Taylor Stufflebean (Hartshorne) and Ravyn Surginer (McAlester). We wish these young people the best in their educational pursuits.

Our senior lunches started back in July for three weeks before the rise in COVID-19 cases caused us to go back to curbside. We had great attendance for all three weeks. It was nice for Chief Batton and Asst. Chief Austin to join us on the first Wednesday lunch and speak to our group. July 28 was the Veteran Appreciation Dinner, where we honored the District 11 veterans with a steak dinner and gifts. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma honors a veteran of the month at every regular session council meeting. In August, I had the pleasure of presenting Jack Haynes with the citation during the meeting. Jack served in the US Navy from 1969-1971 and worked on the extensive modernization of the USS Midway. He was a McAlester firefighter and retired from the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Jack is a Choctaw artist. His talents include woodcarving, beadwork and painting.

The 2021 Outstanding Elders from District 11 are Vivian Mazar and Clem Santine. Vivian is such a wonderful person and enjoyable to be around. She is always smiling and has such a positive attitude. Clem is a successful Choctaw businessman as a longtime State Farm Agent in McAlester. He serves his clients with professionalism and helps with civic groups and charities. Both Vivian and Clem are good examples for our Choctaw young people on how education and hard work can lead to a successful life.

We have over six hundred Choctaw business owners that participate in the Choctaw Small Business Development Chahtapreneur program. August 10 was the Chahtapreneur awards dinner. Congratulations to the 2021 Business of the year for District 11 Grayson Smedley of Precision Tree & Landscapes in McAlester.

Yakoke for allowing me to serve as your Council member, it is a great honor. If I can help you or your family in any way, please let me know. Together We’re More!

Chihowa vt achukma,
Robert Karr