District 9, September 2021
By Tribal Councilmember James Dry
September 1, 2021
Halito from District 9,
It’s been very busy over the summer in District 9. On June 17, we held our District 9 Princess Pageant. This year, Senior Miss Haleigh Gibson, Junior Miss Kenzie Wilson and Little Miss Kiree Lewis represent our district. We are very proud of them and all the other young ladies who participated in this year’s pageant.
We recently opened the Cultural Center to the public, and it’s been a tremendous success for the Choctaw Nation. I would like to personally thank the staff for all the hard work and dedication to ensure a great grand opening. I want to say a special Yakoke to Sue Folsom for her lifelong commitment to preserving our culture and traditions.
Our Casino Sky Tower opened on August 5 to the public! This has been almost a 2-year project, and the expansion has created over 1,000 jobs. It is now one of the top casinos in the United States. We had several volunteers from across the Choctaw Nation help work over the opening weekend, and we appreciate them very much. I would like to also thank the casino staff for all the hard work you put in every day and night to make our property one of the best in the U.S.
Chief, Assistant Chief, SEOs and Tribal Council have been working on plans for the American Rescue Plan and applications for our elder food cards rolled out in mid-August. We have been waiting on federal guidelines to move forward with other disbursements. Other applications from the ARPA fund will be rolling out in September.
I’m also proud to announce we had 21 kids receive a $1,000 District 9 scholarship this year through our Chahta Foundation. We raise money each year through golf tournaments, private donations and taco sales. This fundraising allows us to give additional scholarships each year. Education has always been very important to me, and I know my grandfather Ernest Dry and great uncle Aaron Dry would be proud to know others are “dreaming big and chasing dreams.”
Congratulations to two of our seniors who are so deserving of being honored and recognized. Darryl Williams and Marilynn Mitchell were elected by their peers to represent District 9 as its “Outstanding Elders for 2021.” These two have each led extraordinary lives while raising their families and always helping others. We hope they will be chosen to represent the Choctaw Nation as its “Distinguished Elders 2021” later this year.
It’s been a great pleasure to serve the Choctaw Nation and District 9 the past four years, and I’m very honored to have another four years. I’m truly blessed, and I’ll keep working hard to do what’s best for the Choctaw Nation and District 9. Please feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected]