Elders are the heart of the Choctaw Nation

Asvnochi Vhleha yvt Chahta Okla i Chukash

Published February 5, 2024

The Choctaw Nation’s Agricultural Department holds its annual Elder Pecan Harvest in December. The event welcomes elders from every district in the Choctaw Nation, who are shuttled in from their community centers to the pecan orchard near Idabel, Oklahoma.

Choctaw Farms grows and processes pecan nuts annually harvested from about 5,000 trees throughout 1,500 acres. Pecans are shelled, processed, and packaged in 16-ounce bags as several products, including plain, cinnamon sugar and salted roasted pecans. They are sold at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Travel Plazas throughout our reservation.

In 2023, our pecan orchards had an estimated harvest of 105,000 pounds of product and that is the highest total harvested to date. While that is a great feat, another number is also impressive – of the 105,000 pounds of pecans harvested from our orchards, an estimated 6,000-8,000 pounds were picked by Choctaw seniors.

While not hard to imagine, but impressive nonetheless, our elders have come through again with their servants’ hearts and helped our Nation complete our largest pecan harvest ever! Time and time again the wisest and most determined Choctaw elders show that when you put your mind to it, you can make great accomplishments.

When I visit with our elders across the reservation there is always a story or input that helps me in some way. The drive and determination of our elders to make the Choctaw Nation what it is today is impressive to say the least. When there is a job to be done or help that is needed, we can always rely on the strength of our senior population to assist and lend a hand, and this latest accomplishment highlights once again, that our elders always answer the call for the Nation. Yakoke elders!

It is the Chahta way to honor our elders and hold them in high regard. Without our elders clearing the path, the road for the Choctaw Nation would be harder to travel. Without the sacrifice, hard work and determination of our elders and ancestors this nation would not be where it is today. Our elder’s wisdom, strength and Chahta Spirit are the cornerstone of our sovereign nation. The fight to govern ourselves and promote self-empowerment has been handed down through generations of Chahta.

Whether it be through picking up pecans to add to our harvest total, offering sound wisdom when it is needed, or volunteering to help future generations of Chahta, our elders are a cherished jewel in the Choctaw Nation – we must treat them as such.

Listen to your elders – they have been there and have sound advice. Check on your elders – they would love the visit, and you can learn a lot about life. Thank your elders – it is their hard work, determination and motivation that makes life easier for future generations.

Yakoke to our elders for adding to a record pecan harvest this year and for everything else accomplished for the Choctaw Nation!

Yakoke and God Bless!