District 6, February 2022
By Tribal Councilmember Jennifer Woods
February 1, 2022
Halito District 6 tribal members! I am excited and look forward to serving you as your District 6 Tribal Councilwoman another year.
There have been so many things that we experienced this past year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve you. During our Tribal Council election this past September, I ran again for District 6 Tribal Council and was honored to have run uncontested and won the honor of remaining your Councilwoman. I want to thank you all so much for your confidence in my leadership for this district. Yakoke!
It always brings me much pleasure to help in our local communities and provide much-needed funds for the local community. Through the Choctaw Community Partnership Fund, in 2021, we have given a total of $175,100 to our city and county to help with roads, bridges, and other needed projects. We also added five new tribal police officers, giving us six officers to better serve our communities during the McGirt rulings.
I am very excited about our Job For The Day program, which has been working all year to get as many of our tribal members into jobs. This year in District 6, the total number of hires was 68, with my whole area having 95 hires in total. We also had 37 transfers for the year. I am very proud of the success of this program and look forward to more of our tribal members being hired in the upcoming year.
We are excited about our twenty new houses being built in Wilburton. The ten new Independent Elder and ten Affordable Rental homes are projected to be ready for the tenant to move in at the end of January 2022. I am excited about the work that is being done on our new building North on Highway 2 at the old BP building. We are looking forward to moving into our new upgraded facility scheduled for May of 2022. The new building will provide us the means to provide more services to our tribal members and a 30 person call center, which will provide more jobs.
Having more programs such as housing, outreach, elder advocacy, veteran’s advocacy, and many more being easily available for our members means that services will be provided faster. This past year was another year of expanding the hospital in District 6 in Talihina. We were able to build a new intern housing building as well as expand our pharmacy.
The hospital dental office and the patient room were remodeled. The women’s Chi Hullo Li building was renovated, which was much needed to provide the best drug and alcohol treatment program services. Also, the Residency-Specialty Clinic at the Hospital. District 6 continues to see growth in our community and at our hospital, where the services continue to increase and meet needs.
Our seniors were excited to get to attend the grand opening of our Cultural Center in Durant this year. This was the first trip that our seniors were able to take since our closures during the Covid Pandemic. We were able to tour the beautiful new facility and enjoy a day of exploring and getting to be with other seniors throughout the Choctaw Nation.
We have been able to make several donations this past year, including providing tables and chairs to our local VFW in Wilburton. The donation was much needed by the Veterans. We also were able to donate a refrigerator, shelves, and other kitchen items to the Yanush Food Kitchen. The Kitchen was in much need of these items in order to continue to provide lunches to those who were homebound in the area. We also made donations to some of our churches as well.
And of course, we cannot forget the library opening in Red Oak where we were able to match funds of over $100,000 through our Small Business Development program that were raised for its completion as this was a dream of all our dear friend, the late Jodie White. We also always support our children and youth by attending and buying their FFA Livestock Premium Sales, where we paid a total of $80,750. We continue to support our local schools with the Annual School Appropriation Dollars. We have also continued our Children’s Meals and Snack feeding program, which provided meals and snacks weekly throughout last year and will continue into 2022.
We have also continued to feed our seniors weekly and deliver meals to homebound tribal members in Wilburton, Red Oak and Quinton and pick up commodities for those tribal members who do not have transportation. We are providing meals on Wednesdays inside the District 6 Community center and delivering to the homebound. We can also provide meals through curbside delivery if the seniors would prefer that. We are watching the COVID numbers and practicing safety measures, ensuring that masks are provided and social distancing. We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, February 9. We will be crowning this year’s Valentine’s king and queen. Make plans to attend. Lunch begins at 11:00 a.m.
In the Choctaw Nation, the Foster Care program is in need of Choctaw tribal member homes for foster care of children. If you are interested, please call Choctaw Nation Foster Care Recruiter Julie McElyea, at 580-924-8280. We need good homes to keep our children safe until they can be returned to their families.
We were all excited to be able to visit our veterans who live at the Veterans Center in Talihina. This is the first time in a couple of years that we were able to go into the facility and give each veteran a Christmas present as well as a visit from Santa Claus. We also held our annual Christmas party at the Community Center, which allowed tribal members to drive through with their children to see Santa and get a gift. We also held Christmas parties at our Head Start in Wilburton, Day Care in Talihina and the Independent Elders home in Talihina. It was so good to see our lives go back to a bit of normalcy.
I am looking forward to what lies ahead in 2022. I ask for your continued prayers as I lead this district and pray for wisdom in all my efforts to serve my tribal members in District 6. I’m looking to bring more businesses to our district and continue growth. Be sure to watch for updates of some exciting news in the future. Yakoke!