Ice storm brings warm feelings for the Choctaw Nation

Published February 20, 2023

By Chief Gary Batton


Winter has shown us, once again, that whatever we have planned can always be changed by some cold winds, rain, and ice. Many Choctaw Nation administrative offices were closed due to icy conditions, while commerce businesses remained open during the entirety of the storm and other offices had to remain open for our tribal members and communities.

The dedication and care our associates show in these times of need is inspiring, to say the least. I am overwhelmed by the stories of selflessness, determination, and pride shown by our Choctaw Nation family during challenging times like the recent ice storm that impacted the reservation. We could not function without the hard work of our associates whose commitment to the Nation was on display during the nearly week-long winter storm.

I hear stories of associates walking from Southeastern Oklahoma State University during the ice storm to get to their work at the casino. Even during these weather challenges, our payroll department associates still sent payroll out to our workforce; payments still went out for tribal member services; and checks were still delivered to our vendors. I’m also pleased to share that we used drone technology to help find a water main leak in McAlester during the hard freeze. Our emergency staff and facility maintenance meanwhile, put in long hours to clear sidewalks and parking lots and clean roadways. Yakoke to our associates for the help and assistance provided to our tribal and community members in the terrible weather conditions.

The Chahta Spirit is not just a slogan for the Choctaw Nation, I see it every day in the way our associates work with tribal members and the community. I see it when we get excited about our Nation’s growth and new partnerships. I see it when I am out in the community and hear stories about how Choctaw Nation associates go above and beyond to aid our tribal members.

I am humbled and overwhelmed by the stories of determination, assistance, and care from our associates given throughout the year, but especially during times like the ice storm earlier this month in southeastern Oklahoma that impacted our service area. I am forever grateful for our associates’ Chahta Spirit and focus on providing support and care for our tribal members and all the communities across the reservation.

Yakoke for all your hard work and God Bless!