About The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized tribe whose service territory covers approximately 11,000 square miles in 10 1/2 counties in rural southeastern Oklahoma. The Nation is comprised of nearly 200,000 members worldwide, and it is the third largest tribe in the United States. The Choctaw Nation is led by the vision and guidance of Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., and 12 Tribal Council members. The Choctaw Nation plays a significant role in the growth of Indian Country and all of southeastern Oklahoma.
In 1830, the Choctaws were removed from their homelands in the southeastern part of the United States, becoming the first tribe to walk what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” Their journey was long and what was ahead for them was unknown. Through the many obstacles the Choctaws have faced, they have remained resilient.
The culture and traditions of the Choctaw Nation are handed down through generations. Preserving and passing down the culture, such as our Chahta language, stickball and traditional dancing, are ways values are displayed. All Choctaw Nation Day Care, Early Head Start, and Head Start centers are practicing these traditions with the children. To assure the legacy of Chahta people continues, the language is taught in communities, through online classes, high schools and universities throughout the United States.
Education is a top priority. Educational components of the Choctaw Nation include Higher Education; the STAR reward program for second-through twelfth-graders; adult education for obtaining GEDs; Career Development with a wide range of career guidance and employment services available to tribal members nationwide; and a DARE officer who spreads awareness of the importance of staying off drugs. Young leaders involved in the Choctaw Nation Youth Empowerment and Youth Advisory Boards assist in community events and actively promote prevention of bullying, domestic violence and substance abuse. Public school districts in the Choctaw Nation’s service area have received donations for a variety of activities that benefit all of the students.
Healthy lifestyles are promoted throughout the Choctaw Nation. Health service programs, at clinics and online, share information on the “Going Lean” initiative that encourages healthier choices to combat the rising cases of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The tribe operates wellness centers, treatment centers for substance abuse for both men and women, clinics throughout the service area, and food distribution centers to assist those in need.
A team of more than 5,000 driven, accountable optimists within the Durant-based Division of Commerce carry on the Choctaw heritage of determination, commitment and community to generate revenue that supports tribal services and accelerate the success of the tribe. The Nation’s diverse portfolio of businesses spans more than a dozen industries throughout the 10 1/2 counties including; construction, commercial real estate, economic and community development, agriculture, tourism, retail, gaming, hospitality, restaurant franchises, printing, e-commerce and wildlife management. The Nation is also constructing travel plazas, casinos, community centers and tribal service centers throughout our service area.
The Choctaw Nation remains an active steward of its water and lands and is engaged in a growing number of projects to protect the environment of southeast Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation’s award-winning recycling facilities help offset the amount of waste hauled to landfills, assist in saving energy, and ultimately provides a better environment for our children and grandchildren. The Recycling Centers in Durant and Pocola give everyone in the area an opportunity to be good stewards of the land.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s ancient land management practices are still valued as the tribe harvests large crops of pecans, hay, cattle and buffalo from thousands of acres of tribally owned and cultivated land. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Agriculture Outreach program utilizes Ag in the Classroom and works with Head Starts, day care and public school students to teach and promote agriculture education. Working with tribal extension agents, Agriculture Outreach works with the USDA as well as Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, assists with local livestock shows and works with tribal members on their agriculture needs.
Giving back and helping others has been a staple for Choctaws. As far back as the Irish Famine in 1847, not many years after the Choctaw relocation, they were able to raise money to send to the United States famine relief organization for Ireland. Today the Choctaw Nation still gives to many charities, churches, schools, clubs and public safety agencies.
Providing the best service possible to our tribal members is something that we strive to do each day. We want our members to feel valued and cared for; this means taking steps to make sure that our services are conveniently and readily available to them. The Choctaw Nation moved into its new headquarters building in the spring of 2018. This new central location allows for all services that Choctaw Nation provides to its members to be conveniently located under one roof. The Choctaw Nation takes care of its members both inside and outside the 10 1/2 counties. They travel to many areas of the United States every year to visit tribal members and encourage them to utilize the many opportunities the tribe has to offer. During these meetings, there are fellowship and cultural activities to keep these members involved with the tribe and immersed in the culture.