District 9, September 2023

By Tribal Councilmember James Dry
September 1, 2023

Halito, from District 9,

I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful summer, and I’m looking forward to the fall. We had an unbelievable District 9 Princess Pageant at our Cultural Center in June.

We would like to thank all the staff that put on a wonderful event for all our young ladies and the support they all received from our District. Our 2023-2024 princesses, Senior Miss Kenzie Wilson, Junior Miss Kassidy Lee and Little Miss Audrina Samuels, will represent our District very well.

Our District 9 Wellness Center celebrated their 5-year anniversary in June. This has been a tremendous facility for our associates and tribal members. They offer so many activities for our youth and elders to promote a healthy lifestyle. They just recently hosted our Senior volleyball tournament for all the districts, with over 20 teams that participated.

We also handed out 15 keys to families that qualified for our LEAP program this summer, with 65 homes currently under construction and another 25 starting soon. This will put us over 200 new homes in Bryan County since we started this program.

Our construction team is also working on our new apartment complex, which will consist of 216 units that will be available to our tribal members and associates. We are also getting ready to start 60 Independent Elder units and 10 affordable rental units in the coming months.

It was a privilege to honor SGT Donald Ray Brimage as District 9 veteran of the month and First Language Speaker Lille Taylor Ott at our Tribal council meeting in June. We appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made throughout the years to protect our Great Nation and preserve our language.

One of my favorite books by Steve Harvey is JUMP: Take The Leap of Faith To Achieve Your Life Of Abundance. Steve Harvey talks about creating a vision board to achieve your goals. We had our six summer youth workers create a vision board at the community center this summer. Along with that, they battled the heat every Tuesday and Wednesday by giving back to the youth and then their seniors. First, handing out over 20,000 “Grab n Go” meals to the youngsters and 1,709 meals to their Seniors the following day. Their confidence grew so much as they presented their vision boards to Chief Batton, Commerce Division, Gaming Division, and our Health Division. I can’t wait for what the future holds for them.

Our Community Center’s Senior Nutrition has been feeding our seniors some fantastic meals this year, not only in quality but in quantity, with the total for over half of the new year showing 11,267 meals served. Although we lost many of our members during COVID, we have been adding at least 1 to 2 new members each week to where our numbers keep growing.

Our center is proud to announce their choice for Outstanding Elders for 2022-2023 are Roger Scott and Mary Lee Williams. They both have been involved in areas that show the District 9 Seniors as caring for its members. Their display of the Chahta Spirit hopefully speaks to our young people and visitors to the campus in ways that say Choctaws are more together. Congratulations to both.