District 6, May 2023

By Tribal Councilmember Jennifer Woods
May 1, 2023

Halito! Chim Achukma from District 6.

We are excited about our beautiful spring days and warmer weather. Just like the flowers and trees blooming, District 6 also shows signs of life and growth.

We were excited to attend the Latimer County Premium Livestock sale, which was a big success this year, and we were able to support our area children. We also attended OYE in Oklahoma City on March 17 and would like to say congratulations to all the students for all their accomplishments. Three of the five students who were selected to participate in the Night of Stars Gilt Sale were Choctaw tribal members. They were Madison Walker, Gracie Noggle and Riley Sumpter, all of Red Oak. We are so proud of these amazing students.

After all of the holidays were finally past, the seniors went back to their first Friday of the month Indian Taco Sale. They also held a St. Patrick’s Day dance in March. It was a lot of fun for all who attended. We would like to thank the YAB kids for their help with the dance and look forward to having them back to help with other senior events. This week, the seniors helped with a JOM field trip for the students at Panola School and served Indian Tacos.

The students were also able to tour the Wellness Center, where the staff instructed the student in the proper way to use the equipment in the center and the purpose of each item. They also spoke to them about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The students presented an original handcrafted “Eyes of God” to the center along with a certificate of appreciation to the District 6 seniors for their support of the local program.

We are very happy to announce that Chrystal Terrazas with WIC is back with us. She will be here every Wednesday, and she hopes to be here one other day during the week after she gets more clients.

We held our quarterly check presentation in March through the Economic Development Funds department of the Choctaw Nation. The City of Wilburton was awarded $14,600, and Latimer County was awarded $18,500. The donations are given for whatever need is present as a way to work together as good community partners.

Our Small Business Development program has been busy working with entrepreneurs for District 6. At this time, there are 92 in business, 49 that have not yet started in their business, with a total of 231 employees. On April 24, we will be holding another ribbon cutting for Moonflower Nursery in Red Oak with Chahtapreneur Dru Kauk. We encourage anyone interested in starting their own business or needing help in their existing business to contact the Small Business Department for valuable resources available to you.

Our Job For The Day Program is also busy putting people to work. The program continued to work all through COVID, and as soon as the hiring freeze was lifted, they met with clients in the parking lot to complete paperwork. They also had several clients that worked in extended positions to assist with COVID screening at the clinic.  Since last April, Job For The Day Program Manager Kim Hill has hired 57 people for District 6.

During April’s council meeting, District 6 tribal member Wayne Scott was recognized as the First Speaker and Dale Morris was recognized as the Veteran of the Month. It’s always an honor to recognize those who go above and beyond in serving.

The building of the ten new LEAP homes in Red Oak began on April 15. If you have not yet applied, please get your applications in. We are also still taking applications for the twenty new Affordable Rental homes in Wilburton that are presently being built. Don’t prejudge your credit when thinking of applying for these programs. Get your application in as soon as possible.

April was Child Abuse Awareness Month. District 6 supported by wearing blue on Fridays for abuse awareness, and our driveway is lined with pinwheels representing children in Foster Care. Our goal in District 6 is to have zero child abuse. Child abuse is NOT the Choctaw way. It takes all of us to stop child abuse.

We were able to participate in the Read Across America program and had the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2 visits in the Wilburton Head Start, Jones Academy and the Talihina Day Dare. It was an exciting day, and the children loved their visit. The Easter bunny also made a visit to the Head Start and Day Care. A great big Yakoke to staff Lori Pugh, Beth Cantrell, and Ethan Scott for dressing up and entertaining the children.

This past Tuesday, we were able to participate in a check presentation for the City of Red Oak for a two-million-dollar grant to replace an aging water infrastructure system. Kenneth Corn, Rural Development Director Oklahoma US Department of Agriculture and Under Secretary for Rural Development, Xochitl Torres Small were present, as well as Councilmen Jess Henry and Ron Perry. Red Oak High School student Titus Montgomery made the introductions. Princesses Riley Isabell and Hata Ramsey performed the Lord’s Prayer and Mayor Leslie Robertson accepted the plaque. Great things are happening in Red Oak.

A few of our staff were able to attend the Eastern Oklahoma State College Sapphire Ball and dressed in traditional ribbon skirts. Choctaw Nation Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr. and Choctaw Tribal Member Kelbi Kennedy, the first FEMA National Tribal Affairs Advocate, were being awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award (see news release). It was an honor to be there to watch them receive their awards and represent the Choctaw Nation.

Progress is continuing on our new Community Center. Watch for updates on our move-in and grand opening. We will also be hosting a Cultural Day the second week of May. The date will be announced soon. If you have any questions regarding programs or need assistance in applying, be sure to call or come by the center. We are always available to help. It’s always an honor to serve our tribal members.