What does tribe truly mean to youChoctaw Nation Photo

Your Chahta tribe has to be maintained to prosper

What does tribe truly mean to you?

Published March 18, 2024

By Chief Gary Batton

Audio in Choctaw Language

Tribe is defined as “a social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language.” The Choctaw Nation tribe is one of resilience, generosity, self-empowerment, sovereignty, commerce, technical prowess, faith, family, and culture.

What does being a part of a tribe mean to you? Is it the pride of our ancestry? Is it the growth and prosperity that we are experiencing as a nation? Is it the gatherings that we have such as the Labor Day Festival, Powwow or other cultural events where we congregate and share fellowship?

I choose to believe a tribe is all the above and much more. The Choctaw Nation is a special place where you can achieve your dreams, fill your life with great memories, honor your ancestors who made this all possible and add something for the next generation to take, run with and make it their own. The Choctaw Nation has a living history that we add to each day through good deeds, hard work, and a servant’s heart.

As I travel around the reservation to milestone events like groundbreakings and facility openings or to participate in giving the keys to a new homeowner or any number of important events that cause us to come together as a tribe, I’m always struck by the pride and love each one of us has for this tribe. And that’s especially obvious in conversations with our tribal members throughout the reservation. The Chahta Spirit is alive and well and it is a great thing to witness.

I see young Chahta learning the language of our ancestors. I see tribal members preparing foods, tribal jewelry, art works and cultural items from instructions passed down by our ancestors. The pride felt from the true Chahta experiences and fellowship with our tribe is one I will have with me forever. It does my heart good to see the Choctaw Nation traditions alive and well. While it’s important to always look to the future, we can never forget our past and the lessons learned, and sacrifices made by those who came before us.

That’s why I challenge all of us as proud Choctaw tribal members to be life-long learners about our culture and always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn about our Choctaw ancestors. Yakoke for keeping the history of this great tribe alive for future generations. Make it something your whole family can be a part of and create a true Chahta experience in your own home. You’ll be glad for the experience and at the same time you’ll be meeting our shared responsibility to do all that we can to protect our sovereignty and continue the growth of our self-empowered tribe.

Yakoke and God Bless!